Daily Reflection – 3/20/2020
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. (Mark 12:28-34)
No matter in which country you may be reading this, I daresay that the words of this command are known to you by heart. But what does it really mean in practice?
There are many Christians who believe they love the Lord because they have good thoughts about God, they admire Him, they think that he’s kind, merciful and generous. But Jesus is calling for much more than this. Love means choosing consistently, the good of the other for the other’s sake. Love is opting as a habit to sacrifice oneself for another, putting someone else ahead of us.
There are many Christians who love God to the point of sacrificing for him, but it’s not enough to sacrifice some of the time, financial resources and talents that he’s given us for him and his glory. It’s not enough to give God some of their mind, heart, soul and strength. Jesus is calling us to love God with all we’ve got. It means that our hope is not just to be good people but to be really holy people.
Jesus calls us to love him with all our mind. How much of our mind do we dedicate to God? Do we try to think as God thinks in our decisions? Do we truly fill our minds with his thoughts through prayer and reading the Bible and good spiritual books?
Jesus likewise calls us to love him with all our heart. Do we really love God more than we love everything and everyone else in our life? Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospel that we’re not fit to be his disciple unless we love him more than our family members, more than our stuff, more than even our own life. This is obviously challenging but do we try to love him with all our heart?
He calls us to love him with all our strength. How much effort do we make to love him? Do we battle through distractions in prayer? Do we prioritize Church and really strive to pay attention?
He calls us to love him with all our soul. Do we seek to stay free of all sin or do we compromise with sin and give in to gossip, complaining, holding grudges and the like? Do we take advantage of the opportunities for the Sacrament of Confession so that
Jesus goes a step further that that challenge to courage to love him with everything we are and have. He tells us that our love for God will be shown in our love for neighbor. Jesus elsewhere does say not “Love me as I love you,” but “Love one another as I have That means today that Jesus is calling us to love our neighbor, to love others in our community,, to love our family members, to love strangers and even enemies with all our heart, all our mind, all our souls and all our strength.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, I realize that in order to love You above all else I must come to know You. Help me to be faithful to you in my commitment to know You and to seek to discover all the glorious truths of Your life.
The ‘commandment’ of love is only possible because it is more than a requirement. Love can be ‘commanded’ because it has first been given. … on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter that has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend.