The Greatest Commandment

Readings for June 4, 2009

First Reading: Tobit 6:10-11, 7:1, 9:17, 8:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 128
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34

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." (Mark 12:28-31)

Jesus tells the scribe today that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and that the second is to love our neighbor as our self. Upon reading this gospel we should be asking ourselves, "is this how I love?" Are these commandments the ones of which I am living my life?

This first commandment deal with how we relate to God. Are we really giving all that we have to Him? What does it even mean to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? Well, since we are human beings, we have four main components that make us specifically human; physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Jesus, being both fully God and fully human, understood these four dimensions all too well. By having four areas that make us up, this commandment is telling us to love God with everything that we have. We are to hold nothing back, we are to give our lives completely to God. We are to love Him with our bodies, with our intelligence, with our heart and our feelings, and our own soul. God is the one who created us, He knows how we are and how we work, He doesn't want us to hold anything back from Him at all. God wants us to be alive and thriving in all aspects of our lives, and the only way to do that is to give all of ourselves to Him and surrender all that we have and all that we are.

We must also remember that we are not simply called to love God, but we are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means that no matter what those close to us may do or say, we are still called to love them as ourselves. It is these two commandments which our Lord says are the greatest, we would do well to listen and follow both of them. While they are certainly not easy, following both of these commandments can lead to a freedom on this earth and an eternity in heaven with our Father.

May we all love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for this day. Lord, help increase our faith, help us to follow you and to surrender all that we have and all that we are to you. Lord, we praise you for your love and mercy to us, we pray that we would cling to you instead of the things of this world. Lord, we know that you lead us to you and an eternity of life in heaven, help us not to stray from that plan. We pray for all those who are ill, all those who are in need of your mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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