The Leviticus reading for today is typically passed over by Christians. We enjoy reading top 10 lists of ways to deep fat fry turkeys or who were the best-dressed celebs at the Tony Awards. We do not want to read the full 613 ways to either please or displease God.
For example, rules 41-50 (as composed by Tracey Rich on http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm):
41 Do not reap the entire field.
42 Do leave the unreaped corner of the field or orchard for the poor.
43 Do not gather gleanings.
44 Do leave the gleanings for the poor.
45 Do not gather imperfect clusters of the vineyard.
46 Do leave imperfect clusters of the vineyard for the poor.
47 Do not gather the grapes that have fallen to the ground.
48 Do leave the fallen grapes of the vineyard for the poor.
49 Do not return to take a forgotten sheaf.
50 Do leave the forgotten sheaves for the poor.
I think we can safely sum up these ten rules as: leave some of the harvests for the poor. Jesus summed up all 613 rules with: love God and love your neighbor.
That does not mean we can ignore the 613. Take Lev 19:19 for example. What could possibly be wrong with cross breeding animals, sowing seeds together, and blending fabric?
In ancient times, mixed animals represented gods in most religions, so God told Israel never to be attracted to anything to do with the un-Godly.
Mixed plantings, however, caused the land to become sacred, which meant it was God’s. If you want to keep your fields, don’t mix plants.
The mixing of fabrics is also a case of making the fabric holy. Actually, this rule applies only to weaving with wool and linen to make clothing for use in the Temple and to be worn by priests outside the Temple. Others were not to wear such fabric.
All three of these ancient rules apply to us today in a more general sense. We should not use symbols of false gods or do any of the actions of such. For example: using an Ouija board or sticking pins a Trump doll.
As for planting our gardens or fields, consider with reverence that it belongs to God and comes from God; we do not own the plants.
Mixed weaves of cloth are common today, and if you don’t wear wool-linen, it’s not an issue. If you do, wear it for God.
Leviticus 19:18 is the key verse, and is the verse that Jesus expanded on several times, including in today’s reading in Matthew.
For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even tax-collectors do that! And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much. No, you are to be perfect, like your Heavenly Father. Phillips
Jesus makes it clear here that we are expected to love every single one of the 7.5 billion people on earth and to love them equally. No one is inferior, and no one is superior. There are about 4,200 religions in the world plus various shades of non-religion. We are to love them as we do our fellowship of Christians. They are our equals.
As followers of Jesus, we cannot be happy to watch our country’s government impose restrictions on groups of people simply because some members of those groups have attacked us. We have been attacked more often by our own citizens. As the great Pogo said, We have met the enemy and they is us.
Consider this: how do we love while protecting ourselves?
Be righteous and do good.