In a homily Jan. 10, Pope Francis offered two practical tips for how we can track whether or not we are living Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbor.
His remarks were prompted by the day’s first reading, 1 John 4:20: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar.”
The pope said it’s important to challenge ourselves to love others because the devil is defeated by Christians loving their brothers and sisters.
So how do we know whether we are loving or hating our neighbor?
Pope Francis said the first test is to ask: “Do I pray for people?” Specifically, do I pray “for everyone, concretely -- those whom I like and those I don’t like, for those who are friends and those who are not?”
The second test, he added is to check how often “I feel inside me sentiments of jealousy, envy, and I start wanting to wish something bad would happen to him or her -- that is a signal that you do not love.”
When those feelings arise, Pope Francis had simple and direct advice: “Stop there. Don’t let those feelings grow. They are dangerous.”