Posted by: liturgicalyear | August 19, 2011

The Greatest Commandment

In today’s gospel, we read a familiar passage from the 22nd chapter of Matthew:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:34-40)
 
Have you ever noticed that the simplest of Jesus’ teachings are the hardest to implement?
 
Every time I hear this scripture, I am challenged to the core and am forced to self-examination.  “Do I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind?”  “Do I love my neighbor as myself?”  In all honesty, the answer to these questions is, “No.”  Sometimes, I’ve felt like a loser, falling short yet again.  How is it possible to love this way?
 
I think the book of Hebrews gives us the answer:
… persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:1-2)
 
Our fallen human nature prevents us from loving as we should.  So, cast off feelings of inadequacy and perfectionism; all they do is discourage.  Instead recognize our shortcomings, and recommit to improve.  Run the race.  Don’t give up or give in.  Jesus endured the cross “for the sake of the joy that lay before him.”  We must do the same.  When Jesus fell under the weight of the cross, he got up and continued to Calvary.  Look to Him who gave everything through to his last ounce of blood.  That is the model – to give and to love – to God and neighbor.
 
So today, fix your eyes on Jesus.  Seek to love God above all and the rest will flow from there.
 
May God bless you and keep you,  Anne
 
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