Loving God and Our Neighbor

Oct 30, 2018

Gospel Reflection, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 6: 2-6; Hebrews 7: 23-28; Mark 12: 28-34

Loving God and Our Neighbor

It is vitally necessary to keep God’s commandments.  They are the paths of life and they are intended to warn us of the paths of death.  God is a friend of life.  He does not desire our destruction and death, but that we should live.  That is why it is so vitally important that we know his commandments and live in accordance with them.

In order that we may not fail to live up to them, God has inscribed his commandments in our hearts.  God’s Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, are not imposed upon us as if they are alien instructions, but rather we find them in our conscience, the most intimate voice of God in our hearts. 

Jesus’ reply to the scribe is so clear and logical that we can only wonder why it is that it is not so clear in life.  The most important commandment is the first of the Ten.  It sums them all up, and it alone makes it possible for us to fulfill the others.  “Have no other God’s besides me.”  We do not divide up our service by percentages where we say so much for God and so much for other people, and so much for other things.  It must be 100 percent: loving God “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”.  Everything must be entirely and unconditionally invested in loving God.

Then why is it often so little true in our lives?  Why does God often come last in my life?  Why do I turn to him only when all else has failed?  Because we far too often set ourselves at the center of things instead of God.  The First Commandment is the most important.  This is the goal we want to reach if we want to have full, meaningful, and happy lives.

And how do we get there?  Jesus says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself?”  We are led to a greater love of God, day by day, by patiently following the pater of loving our neighbor.  By loving our neighbor, we learn to love with our whole heart and with all our strength, the One who stands behind our neighbor. 

Father Tony