Thursday, June 4, 2015

“One must love God first, and only then can one love one's closest of kin and neighbors.”

“Examine your heart often to see if it is such toward your neighbor as you would like his to be toward you were you in his place. This is the touchstone of true reason.” ― St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622: Bishop of Geneva)

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.

A single question was asked by the scribe, an important one. Jesus’ answer combined two commandments of the Old Testament into one…thus stating that the two cannot be separated. We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow human beings…as we love ourselves.

For each of us, Jesus’ words are a challenge to look deep in our hearts and reflect on the quality of our love. Is God first and foremost? Do we truly love our sisters and brothers? No doubt, we each can deepen our love on all levels…and our pondering of the person of Jesus in the Scriptures, our reception of the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation can greatly help our love grow and be even more fruitful.

God is awaiting our reply, «with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength» (Mk 12:30).

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