“Giving an affirmative answer to the fundamental question of our faith: ‘Do YOU love Jesus?’ as we make our journey, in the ‘train of life!’”
(Based on 2 Tim 2:8-15 and Mk 12:28-34 – Wednesday of the 9th Week of Ordinary Time)
A heart-touching incident is told of a man who was travelling in a train.
Sitting opposite him was a mother and a little girl.
He talked to the little girl and told her stories and showed her his penknife – how it opened and closed.
He even sang to her, and she loved her new companion.
As the train reached the destination, the little girl looked up to the man and asked: “Do you love Jesus?”
He didn’t understand her at first…
… but she repeated the question.
The man stammered and blushed as he said good-bye to her and her mother…
But he couldn’t forget the question; “Do you love Jesus?”
He went to bed that night and that question didn’t go away, “Do you love Jesus?”
When he woke up the next morning, it was still there.
The question was planted by the Spirit in his heart and it put down its roots.
It demanded an answer.
Five years later he was walking through the city, when he bumped into a lady coming out of her house.
He recognized her as the mother of the little girl.
“Hello!” he said to her warmly, “I don’t suppose you remember me. About five years ago I travelled in the same train coach as you and your daughter.”
“I remember it well,” she said, “come in.”
So he went into her house.
“Do you remember that your daughter asked me a question as we were getting out of the train?”
“How is she? Can I see her?” he asked.
The woman looked away…
… tears were in her eyes.
“I’m sorry” she said…
… “She is in heaven!”
She took him to her room and there were her Bible, and her dolls, and prize books, and some toys. “That’s all that’s left of my sweet Lettie,” her mother said.
“No,” said the man – who was shocked and dazed – quite vehemently. “That is not all that is left of her.
I am left. I am left. I owe her my faith in God!
I was an unbeliever when she asked me that question.
I loved the world and I lived badly, but she asked me that question and I never could forget it, and since that time I have changed.
I am not the man I was. I am now God’s.
I can answer the question now!”
What about us?
Can we answer that question: “Do YOU love Jesus?”
The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation by the Lord, to Love God with our “ALL”…
… All our heart
… All our soul
… All our mind
… All our strength
The Gospel begins with a member of the scribe, approaching Jesus with a question:
“Which is the greatest of all commandments?”(Mk 12: 28)
This man, who questioned Jesus was a scribe
Some translations would put it as “a Lawyer”
The Gospel of St Matthew describes him as a “Scholar of the Law” (Mt 22: 35)
He was an expert in the Mosaic Law.
…someone who studied the law, interpreted the law and taught the law!
Jesus responded him, with something immensely special:
“The Lord our God, is Lord alone. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength”(Mk 12:29- 30)…
“Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12: 31)
Note the insistence on the word “all”….
… “all” your heart… feelings, emotions, desires
… “all” your soul… will, choices, decisions
… “all” your mind… reason, knowledge, memory
… “all” your strength… talents, abilities, capacities
The Lord commands and demands a “total” and “complete” loving!
He demands an “absolute” and “unadulterated” love!
Love, as Jesus defines, is not simply about feelings and emotions, as is the popular and the ‘commercial’ understanding.
Undoubtedly, Love has the dimensions of being a tender feeling and an expressive emotion.
But beyond that, Love is…
… a commitment
… a dedication
… a decision
…. that one makes to be faithful – to a person or a duty or a situation!
Life sometimes can be quite harsh to us – making us feel totally lost out, abandoned even by God and even causing us to question the presence and existence of a Just and Loving God…
… But, can we still dare to “love God”?
Life sometimes hits very hard at us – in the form of others not accepting us, others ridiculing, criticizing us and we finding ourselves as the subject of hatred and injustice.
… But, can we still dare to “love our neighbours”?
Life sometimes is very unfair to us, we feel – by not rewarding us with rewards, that we consider, we deserve, in answer to the hard-work we put in… or by not allowing us to enjoy the joys of life and instead bombards us with tensions and worries
… Can we still go out of the way and live a life “In Love and For Love”?
When one’s life is truly centred on love for God, one also begins to express this love to one’s neighbours, in concrete and certain acts of love.
St Paul reminds us: “If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself!” (2 Tim 2:11-13)
As Christians, we often…
… seek to find “loopholes” in laws of loving the Lord and our neighbour…
… try to spot “gaps” in commandments which ask to love the Lord and our neighbour…
But the insistence of the Lord is clear:
This is the ideal to which we, as Christians are called!
If not for this highest ideal, our life as a Christian would cease to have a uniqueness!
In the words of St Paul, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth!” (2 Tim 2: 15)
As we make our journey, in the “train of life”, we are constantly faced with this fundamental question of our faith: “Do YOU love Jesus?”
This question is planted by the Spirit in our hearts and it put down its roots.
It demands an answer.
What is our answer?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Our longing to gaining God’s Love causes us to meditate…
… Love, when gained, leads to contemplation.
Love renders the charm of what we love so pleasing…