March 5, 2021
By Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, assistant to the president for mission integration at University of Detroit Mercy
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mk 12:31; Lev 19:18)
As I have been newly reflecting on what I read with attention through the lens of my identity as a woman, I found myself struck by the line from Mark’s Gospel regarding love of neighbor and self. I have always found that passage a bit disconcerting and have had to undertake some major mental gymnastics to make it fit both what I understood to be Jesus’s teachings and my own experience.
For much of my life, if I took the verse literally, it would have been all the worse for my neighbor. As a Filipina woman, I had long been conditioned to put the needs of others first, something that I have come to understand as the conditioning of most women around the globe. Yet, a quick perusal of literature that touches upon the experiences of Filipinas today—take, for example, literature about Filipina labor migration—underscores the fact that Filipinas continue to be strongly culturally conditioned to self-sacrifice at the expense of their own flourishing. Such conditioning has been aided by preaching in churches as much as it has been shaped by familial expectations. So, to love my neighbor as myself is to be largely inattentive to their needs. Surely this is not what Jesus meant.Read More