With these words of the Lord, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34); let us reflect on the readings on this thirty-first Sunday of the liturgical cycle. What keeps the non-controversial lawyer closer to the kingdom of God? What can keep us closer to God and one another? It is the love of God and neighbor. The two dimensions of love, for God and neighbor, constitute our authentic Christian living. Love is the essence of living, and we become part of it when we love God and others. Love that does not capture the most profound aspirations of other people’s hearts is fake.
Furthermore, love not founded on God is Idolatry. In the Gospel today, Jesus receives the expert of the law who approached him without prejudices or stereotypes of appearances, but someone eager to learn. Jesus received him with love and thus revealed that love receives and welcomes without judgment.
Sometimes, we are different from Jesus. Our prejudices and biases keep us away from God and our neighbors. The two-fold commandment of love, God, and neighbor is the fundamental law anchored on our profound relationship with God. In this fundamental law of love, a gift that God allows us to know and experience, we need to develop it throughout our lives. In doing so, we shall be close to God and one another. Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable and are mutually related. In the first reading, Moses reveals to the Israelites that the law is a gift from God to win life and success. And Jesus, our new Moses, shows in today’s Gospel how essential the two dimensions of this law are a single commandment. No doubts that Jesus, in his whole life and person, embodied the unity of love, the love of God and neighbor. The author of the letter to the Hebrews presents Jesus’ gesture of love as a single sacrifice he offered for all to cleanse us from sin. His followers must strive to do so daily.
Christian Action This Week: Let us put love first. Pay attention to others’ deepest aspirations. Do so with the heart than mind.
Joy and Peace.