Posted by: livingscripture | March 24, 2017

Third Friday of Lent

 

 

WORD of the DAY

 

“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.’

(Mark 12: 28b- 31)

How shall I live this Word?

Jesus has just closed the mouth of the Scribes and Pharisees.  When will His adversaries leave Him in peace?  Now they ask Him a very important question: What is the first Commandment of God?  Jesus’ response is flawless: it regards the absolute primacy of God in the heart and life of human beings.  It is interesting to note that Jesus, without being asked, adds the second important commandment, following that of love of God.

We know this deals with love of our neighbor that must be placed together with the love we have to have for ourselves!  What should be emphasized is the fact that in the Old Testament, both were recorded but separately: one in Deut. 6: 5 and the other in Lev. 19: 18).

It is extremely important that Jesus unites them as though making them one entity of the love due to God.  This is the root of authentic Christianity: mine, yours, ours go to the Lord.  And we even have the basic reason for this in the New Covenant: “We cannot love God whom we do not see, if we do not love our brethren whom we do see”.  Let us remember the ancient words: “You see your brother?  You see the Lord”.

Lord Jesus, help me to love You, asking You to be the absolute Lord of my heart.  Grant that I may recognize You and love You in my brother, my sisters, in everyone because they are worthy of my love and even in those I would want to exclude from my heart.

The voice of Pope Francis

Love of God and love of neighbor are the two sides of the same medal; two faces that become one, that of Christ.  “We cannot love God without loving our neighbor and we cannot love our neighbor without loving God…In effect, the visible sign that the Christian can show as a witness of God’s love to the world is precisely love of our sisters and brothers”. 

 

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