The Greatest Commandment
In Today’s Gospel, Jesus summarizes all the commandments into one law with two sides: "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 love of neighbor comes second, only because it is modeled upon the love of God — a love so different that while we were estranged from God, Christ died for us. God did not love us because we were lovable, but chose to love us because of His great love.
In his Confessions, St Augustine writes: “Our true Life descended upon us, and bore our death, and destroyed it with the abundance of His own life; and He thundered, calling us aloud to return to Him to that secret place, from where He came to us, first passing through the womb of the Virgin. To reach us, he embraced human creation, our mortal flesh, so that humanity would not be eternally mortal. From our mortality, like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, he did not linger, but ran, calling out loud for us to return to Him.” (V.12)
St Augustine reflects on Christ as the ever active doctor who won’t wait for us in a medical office, but who seeks us out. How can we not love such a God who has shown himself so good to us in Jesus Christ?
St Paul in the second reading reminds us to be imitators of Christ. We may think of ourselves, “But I don’t hate anyone.” Yet our lack of hatred might lack the warmth of Christian love. As disciples of Jesus we are called beyond not hating, into loving as He loves us. This kind of love takes us beyond our comfort zone. It places before us the choice to actively engage and in reaching out to those estranged from us, become agents of healing and reconciliation for this broken world.
Pope Francis reminded us in Fratelli Tutti that “we have been made for the fullness that can only be achieved in love” (68). He invites us to be proactive and to enjoin others so that we don’t keep the concern of the Gospel to ourselves, but share with others the mission we have received.
God Bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA