One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and 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.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
How well do I love?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a new way to look at the laws of the Old Testament. He doesn’t change the Commandments; rather, He invites us to look at them through a new prism. Instead of “shall not,” we are encouraged “to love”-to be active in our faith. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
But maybe not so much. This requires more than just following directions. Now it’s my initiative. So the questions become: Am I truly giving everything to God? Am I committed to really dedicating all my “thoughts, words, and actions” to the One who gave it all to me in the first place? How much have I held back because of fear or doubt?
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And so I ask the question: How have I loved myself these days? How have I embraced the gift of life? I can’t give what I don’t have. What stops me from loving myself in the way that God desires?
So today, take some time to share love-with God and with others. After all, as Diana Ross reminded us, the world really needs it right now.
-Mrs. Danielle Harrison teaches theology at St. Louis U. High.
Lord, when we feel rushed, overwhelmed by all the commitments, slow us down. Let your Spirit remind us to keep perspective. If we but take a few minutes to be in your presence, to speak from our heart and wait on you, we will be centered and fortified to better serve others. We thank you for those in our day who will refresh us and help us to be more content, more joyful, and more giving.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!