“Living under the banner of the two fundamental commands of Christian life – Love of God and Love of neighbour!”
(Based on Hos 14:2-10 and Mk 12:28-34 – Friday of the 3rd Week in Lent)
“Papa, do you love Jesus?” asked a little child to her father.
The father was an extremely irreligious man – even hating and condemning all religious practices.
So, with a sense of irritation, the father replied, “Jesus is dead, my dear, long, long ago. He was crucified, and that was the end of Him.”
“But Jesus rose again, and did what no other man could do”, continued the innocent child, “and if Jesus was not living now, we could not be living either, as He gives us life and everything else, Papa.”
But the father questioned back, “But how can I love whom I have never seen, my child? Tell me that, my dear!”
The child, at first didn’t know what to reply.
The father was extremely happy that his question had puzzled the daughter and hoped that now she would stop the topic.
But the little girl put forth another question, “Papa, how old was I when Mamma died?”
“Hmm…six months, my child”, replied the father.
“Then I can say”, said the child, “that I never saw her, for I don’t remember her at all.
But you have always tried to make me love Mummy, by telling me how good and kind she was; and I do love her!”
And then with a deeper sense of affection, she continued, “Even though I don’t remember having seen her, I still do love her, Papa!”
By this time the tears were running down the father’s cheeks.
He kissed his beloved child and said, “God has spoken to me by you, my dear!
I realize I do need to love God, even though I have not seen Him!
And now you must pray for me, and ask God to give me a new heart, with which I shall love Jesus.”
(Undoubtedly, the prayer of the innocent child was soon answered!)
What about me….
Do I love God?
Do I really love God?
Even though sometimes I am not able to experience His presence…
Even though at times, I go through the hardships and grinds of life…
DO I LOVE GOD?
The Gospel of the Day is a mighty invitation and reminder by the Lord, to Love God with our “ALL”…
… All our heart
… All our soul
… All our mind
… All our strength
The passage 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 no ordinary man or any ignorant person.
He 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!
Just prior to the questioning by this scribe, Jesus had silenced six groups of people…
- The Chief Priests
- The Scribes
- The Elders
“As Jesus was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders approached Him, and said….” (Mk 11:27)
- The Pharisees
- The Herodians
“They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech” (Mk 12:13)
- The Sadducees
“Some Sadducees who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus….” (Mk 12: 18)
Most of them had approached and questioned Jesus…
… not to know or learn more about the Law, but to question Him and trap Him!
… not with genuineness in their heart, but with malice and viciousness!
However, Jesus, aware of all this background…
the wicked conspiracy that was brewing against Him
the plot of testing that was hanging in the air
… responds with something immensely marvellous and spectacular:
“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) and
“Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12: 31)
Here was a classic answer…
The background in which the question was put forth quite “hateful” and “repulsive”
… but Jesus dares to answer with the sublime answer of “Love!”
The Lord was being targeted badly with stones of “hatred, jealousy, aversion and hostility”
… but He gently, but firmly showers back the flowers of “Love, Tenderness and Commitment”!
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…
…. that one makes to be faithful – to a person or a duty or a situation!
“Agape” is the Love to which we are called…
… a self-giving love
… a self-sacrificing love
… an other-centered love
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
When one’s life is drawn into real service for humankind, one slowly but surely has to realise that the source of these charitable deeds is God and thereby one is to draw closer to the Lord.
May our life be a constant check to see if we are living under the banner of these two fundamental commands of Christian life – Love of God and Love of neighbour!
And thus, in the depths of our hearts…
… even with all the troubles, problems and uncertainties clouding our lives
… even if we are unable to see the power of God leading us
We can still whisper and even shout: “I REALLY LOVE YOU, MY GOD!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – “In the Name of the whole Church”
It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head…
… and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.”
From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength. (CCC # 1566)