Thursday, June 7, 2012

“Your neighbor is the man who needs you”

 (Gospel Text: Mk 12:28-34)
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.

Modern society is obsessed with the pursuit of love. Sadly, the path of mankind is scattered with the artifacts of failed love: divorces, shattered families, brokenhearted people turning their backs on God, who is their only hope of finding love (1 Jn 4:16). People are hungry for love, but not only can't they find it, they don't truly understand what love means or what they seek. Sadly, many teach a counterfeit "love" that is self-centered and leads ultimately to emptiness and shattered hopes. What the human heart wants is to be taught to experience true Christ-like "agape," self-giving love, but how many are never taught the truth about love?

Pope Benedict XVI recognized this void. Therefore, he wrote the first encyclical of his papacy to teach people about God's love for them. He stated: "I wish in my first encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others...I wanted here — at the beginning of my pontificate — to clarify some essential facts concerning the love which God mysteriously and gratuitously offers to man, together with the intrinsic link between that Love and the reality of human love" (Pope Benedict XVI, God is Love, 1).

Those who experience the love of God (Eph 3:19) must constantly teach others (2 Tm 2:15) to "come to know...the love God has for" them (1 Jn 4:16). Most Christians are drawn to Jesus through love. Therefore, teach the truth in love; teach the truth about love; teach them "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8).

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