The bulletin article I write today seems much like a sequel to a few weeks ago as it again addresses the Greatest Commandments given to us by Jesus in this week’s Gospel:
“You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment and the second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This was a difficult teaching for the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking, for they were the ones who held themselves in such high esteem because they followed all the laws and knew the words of the prophets who were their ancestral teachers of the faith. Jesus brought a new and less complicated message; a message that would change the course of history for all his followers. Sent by his Father, Jesus came to preach and teach a message of love: Love God. Love others. How could it be that simple? In fact, we know it is not. The words might be few; however, living those words is anything but simple. It is the challenge set before each one of us, born of our baptism in Jesus Christ. If we are indeed committed to living a Christian life, then we have no other option than to spend our lifetime living into the Greatest Commandments. In striving to do so, we grow as disciples as we bring the message of Jesus
Christ to others.
I have said before, this does not mean we need to stand on a street corner proclaiming the Gospel, although that might be a refreshing change from everything else we witness on the streets. What this command from Jesus entails is us living our lives every day, in every way, striving to love God’s
people. And those people are not just family and friends, co-workers or the neighbor down the street. No. It is to love and care for every person because God created every person in his image and each is worthy of our love. Loving the people of the world calls us to check our thoughts and our actions daily, even multiple times within our day. How
do I look upon others who look or act or speak differently than I do? Do I look at them and see the beauty of God’s creation or do I look at them and find myself unable to love or uninterested in knowing them? Do I move too quickly to condemn people rather than their actions? Do I treat others the way I want them to treat those that I love dearly? Jesus envisioned a world of love and offered his own life that we might come to know God’s love and mercy completely. To know God’s love is to love God’s people.
Let us pray asking God to once again open our hearts that we might grow in love for all people. We can begin in our homes with our family and pray that we might move beyond that to include all of God’s wonderful works found within the human family. To be sure we will be challenged. May the Holy Spirit strengthen our resolve to love a bit more each day for this will truly bring us closer to Jesus Christ and our Father.
In hope, Deb Rudolph
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC