for Sunday, November 4, 2012
Love God and love your neighbor. This short and clear commandment
expressed the whole of the law of God. Today we don't like to think of
God's word as a law, so we can say simply that this short statement sums up
the whole of our Christian life. It is so very simply and so very
Loving God has always been a bit difficult because God is not present the
way that another person is present. This difference also has made loving
God easier because we are never quite sure what it means to love God. We
do know that we must prefer God and His word, His Scriptures to all other
The invitation to love God and to love our neighbor becomes very concrete
in the love of neighbor. It is not just any neighbor that we must love,
but the neighbor who is right in front of us. The neighbor is not the
person who lives next door but any human being who happens into our life.
This neighbor is especially the person that we don't want to help, the
person who may have injured us, the person who seems unworthy of our help,
the person who will take more of our time than we want to give.
Always in the Gospel we find this teaching of the Lord Jesus: love those
who don't love you; love those who are your enemies; love those who slap
you and injure you.
As we consider this invitation to love, we can understand more completely
why our ancestors in the faith were not faithful to the Lord, as hear in
the first reading today. Moses was clear in his teaching. Moses taught
the people what he knew that God wanted taught. The Scriptures continue to
teach us what God wants of us. It is much easier to change the meaning of
the Scriptures than it is to change our hearts. So in the history of our
faith, both in the Old and the New Testaments, we find the tendency to turn
away from God, the tendency to change what God wants into what we want.
Marriage is one of the easiest examples to look at in terms of the change
of teaching. It is an easy example because it is Jesus Himself who tells
us that Moses changed the teaching because of the hardness of heart of the
believers. Jesus continually calls us to repent and to return to the clear
teachings given in Scripture and the clear teachings that He gives to us.
We can allow our hearts to be changed today or we can continue as we are,
with hearts hardened by doing things our own way. Jesus calls to us: Love
God and love your neighbor. Listen to Him.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Deuteronomy 6.2-6
Second Reading: Hebrews 7.23-28
Gospel: Mark 12.28-34
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: