Reading: Mark 12-28-34
28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" 29Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any question.
The command to love looks so simple, yet it is hard to practice. How can we just love the person who is constantly hurting us or who is rude to us. Love is a matter of choice, it may not entirely be out of feeling. I believe the kind of love God requires of us has more to do with choice than feeling; for the real sacrifice, which lent is all about and what Jesus really did for us was constantly choosing to sacrifice for us. He chose to love and die for us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8). In the same way He calls us to love; in constantly choosing to love, especially people who do not deserve our love, we are partaking in the sacrifice Christ did for us.
With regards to Loving God, it is sometimes difficult to do so when we consider all the negative things happening in the world and in our families. How can you love a God who has allowed sickness to take the life of the family member or a God who has “refused” to answer that prayer you have constantly been praying for the past many weeks, months or even years? How do we love a God who sometimes seems so far away and no matter how long we’ve searched for him still can’t find him? But in all of this, He still requires us to love Him. Love, is a matter of choice and not feeling. There are times when the emotion we sometimes feel to tell us God is around us is no longer there. It is in those moments that the sacrifice is hardest. When we have to choose to go for mass, pray and do what we know he requires of us. Considering that we are humans, we will fail and when we do fail, we must rise up like Jesus did when he fell carrying the cross and journey on till we take our last breadth.
Our prayer O Lord, is that in the moments when it is hardest to love you or our neighbour, you would give us the grace and strength to constantly choose to do the things that show that we love.