“To live as true children of God means to love our neighbor and to be close to those who are lonely and in difficulty.”
Given all that we have going on in our house this year, my wife and I decided to keep Halloween pretty low-key. The kids needed to design their costumes from the plethora of dress-up clothes already in the house, we’d be painting, not carving pumpkins, and most importantly "the loop" would be strategic – we’re talking big bars and butterfingers (those are strategic for dad). As we plotted out the neighbors we would visit, we imagined the anticipated return on our investment. Yesterday at Sunday Mass, the priest recounted his own passion as a child for accumulating as much candy as possible. We all giggled as he described avoiding the houses that gave out pencils or apples and then he asked a poignant question connected to Mark’s Gospel focused on loving our neighbor – "which neighbors do we avoid visiting?"
Of course I thought about our family’s "master plan" for trick or treating, but I also thought about how I understand and treat all of my "neighborhoods." How often in my relationships in life and leadership do I only visit those who have what I think I want? How often do I avoid the interactions that will take time and effort, but not be a treat for me? Whether in work or family, my parish or my actual street, do I "love my neighbor as myself" or do I love my neighbor for myself? The family decided to adjust the loop a bit to include some folks we rarely see and I made a list of some other people I needed to call. Prayers that we be treats in someone’s life who might be tricky for us this week!