Gospel MK 12:28B-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
'He is One and there is no other than he.'
And 'to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself'
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
+Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest and in our souls, take up your rest. Amen.
“You shall love…” When I was a young sister, we were always taught, when you hear the word; ‘Israel’ in scripture, to hear ‘your name’ in that place. Listen to Jesus with this in mind: “Hear O _________the Lord our God is Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God…”
What I hear Jesus saying to me, is that ‘Loving’ is the highest commandment of God, it ranks above all. Therefore it should be the place of my greatest focus and efforts. It is very important that I understand this Truth, so as to live this Truth. Because in the measure I understand and live this Truth, is perhaps also the nearness I travel, right now; with the kingdom of God, ‘coming upon me’ in my life. ‘Loving’ is truly a need for us. We need God’s love, we yearn for it, and we need to love, it is so deep in us, that if our love is rejected, it can wound us deeply. The commandment that we are called to obey, is a commandment that we were ‘created to obey’ and so obedience becomes a means of joy.
I remember something’ interior’ taking place in my heart, as a young sister. I remember another sister being difficult and rough with me when we worked together and the pain it caused my heart, every time I found myself in her company. I began to ‘retract’ my love with her, because the fear of having my love rejected, became so strong. But I observed an unusual thing happen in my heart; when I tried to protect my heart from the pain of possibly being rejected by her again, when I ‘restricted’ my love, my heart felt miserable. After a day or so, it seemed clear, that remaining vulnerable and loving was better. My heart felt free, and unhindered and love could just ‘flow out’ naturally and that seemed incredibly better. The mystery of loving is that we are more full, in the measure we pour out. We are happier in the measure we forget ourselves and think of the other. The Imitation of Christ says it so beautifully: “As soon as we begin to seek ourselves, at that same moment we cease loving.”’ St Paul tells us to “make love our aim.” I love that! Super simple! What does loving God look like right now to me? Today, in my life today? And with respect to my neighbor; what is the most loving action with respect to her/him, the greatest good for them? I recall as a young sister, Sr. Nirmala MC who at the time was the Major Superior for the Contemplative Branch for the MC’s said something revelatory to me. She said; “Listening to another in their pain, is one of the highest forms of Love.” Love then can have a very different face in every situation.
Prayer: Jesus, live in me, act in me, and love through me, for I am your child. Amen