November 5, 2006
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
I want to share the Gospel reading on this blog because it is one of central importance to the Christian life:
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "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. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, 'He is One and there is no other than he.' And 'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mk 12:28b-34)Jesus is asked many times in the Gospel to clarify this and He does when He says "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you" (John 15:12). Imagine, we are to love each other, even our enemies (Matt 5:44), as Jesus loved us. And how did He love us? He loved us to the last drop of His blood. He left the eternal glory of Heaven to suffer as a man like us in all things but without sin (Hebrews 4:15), and He gave up His life for us, even for those among us that will never care for Him one moment in this life. Nevertheless, His love is infinite.
So, how are we to love one another infinitely like Jesus loved us? The answer is that we can't by our own accord. We must first love God and if we love God, we will love one another. As we go about our day, do everything with perfect peace and resignation, do nothing in bitterness. As Blessed Mother Teresa said, "Even if you give somebody a glass of water, you do it to Jesus."