What a beautiful statement! Yet at first glance, the You shall nots in Leviticus might seem to be more about what we shouldn’t do than what we should do. When I really examine them, though, these statutes are meant to help the fledgling Israelites survive; they are meant to foster flourishing, mutual understanding, and justice. Put simply: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus reveals the true depth of these words. We adhere to these You shall nots when we adhere to the needs of those who are on the margins. When we accept the stranger, the hungry and thirsty, the imprisoned, the naked, and the sick, we encounter Christ. The Lord’s words truly lead us to the fullness of life!

Today, how is the Spirit inviting me to deeper care for my neighbor, especially my neighbor who is on the margins?

—Dan Finucane teaches theology and coordinates Campus Ministry activities at St. Louis University High School in St. Louis MO.