No Exceptions to Love
Did you hear any love messages in the media? In your workplace? In your neighborhood? In your family?
Jesus is quite clear when he answers the lawyer in Mark’s gospel. The greatest commandment is love of God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second is: Love your neighbor as yourself!
Jesus’ answer is true to the Jewish prayer called the Shema, from the Hebrew word “hear.” This Shema was known to Jesus as a practicing Jew. This Shema affirms the basic tenets of the Jewish faith then and now. And we, as Catholics, hear the same expression of the greatest commandments in our Scriptures.
We have powerful evidence of the love commandments lived by the Jewish congregation who experienced the loss of many of their people last Saturday, during their holy day observance. Their grief and mourning are filled with messages of loving remembrances of the dead. They are also strong in their conviction that they will continue their tradition of love extended to neighbors—to asylum seekers and migrants. In spite of the hate of that tradition and the people who live it, the hate that consumed the killer, they vow to keep loving!
In our world today, Scripture and society look at love differently, don’t they? Who is my neighbor? Only the one I agree with, the one who is like me? Jesus is very clear in his preaching and in his living example. Love of God, love of neighbor and love of self—NO EXCEPTIONS!
We are given some powerful challenges in Mark’s gospel.
How can I love God, neighbor and myself with my heart and emotions?
How can I love God, neighbor and myself with my soul and essence?
How can I love God, neighbor and myself with my mind and intellect?
How can I love God, neighbor and myself with my strength and body?
Can we honestly say “I love you God” without widening our hearts, our souls, our minds and our strength?