Daily Reflection – 6/4/2020
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)
This declaration of God’s unity and call to love God with all our being and to love our neighbor as our self is still central in Jewish worship today. It is called the “Shema” — Hebrew for “Hear!” — because God has a message for us that will make the difference between life and death.
Jesus stresses the commandment to love God, and to love our neighbor. It is the one love. All others come from that. We need to say this often to ourselves lest we forget it.
It is a love which is based on giving everyone their due, their rights and genuine care. It is the homely and ordinary love in daily life. That is why many holy men and women have recommended “falling in love with God.” Think of the great mortal loves in your life. When we are in love, we know our priorities — we know each day how we will devote our time and talents. And when we are in love, we find time to nourish our relationship. So now let’s take the big leap with thought and talk about its extension in our daily life.
God loves each person individually and calls us to let ourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, persons set apart for him. He wants us to reflect our response to him through our holiness and offering of self to him. He is a personal God and we experience his touch in the presence of Jesus. Christian love requires of us to root out of our hearts and minds these distorted perceptions and to convert our hearts and minds to a true and compassionate love of God and of others.
But love is also demanding. To love means to go beyond ourselves, truly to face another person, to rise above our own need, to stretch out to someone, to see the faces of those who desperately need our love, to risk discomfort, to give our time and energy and indeed to give ourselves to others. Love involves total giving and sacrificing oneself. There is no question of sharing only a part or to love when the person feels good. It is true that love has to do with feelings, but it has far more to do with commitment, challenge and letting go. Whole hearted loving does not stop at any time and it cannot be done with. It has to do with being there for the other. Further, without being loved it is impossible to love.
During this time of turmoil in the United States when the scab of racism has once again been exposed, it is imperative that we remember that to interfere with a person’s life is interfering with God’s rights and disobeying his command. Our neighbor is created in the image and likeness of God. It is God who gave us our existence and every gift we possess. All that we have and possess we owe to his love and generosity. That is why it is necessary for us to love him, honor his name and respect his presence in the lives of others.
If one does not have love, he has nothing. If one spends his time in prayer but cannot show love towards his neighbor, he does not have true love in him, nor does God abide in him.
Prayer of The Day
We love you, Lord; and we desire to love you more and more. Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought. Give us in our hearts pure love, born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us
For God is love and those who abide in love abide in God. They care about their neighbors. They reach out to them. They support them. They encourage them to persevere. If we obey the two Commandments of love, our daily communion with God is being perfected through Christ, with Christ and in Christ. If we obey the two Commandments of love, we are not far from the Kingdom of God.