In the Gospel reading from Matthew 22, Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” His answer may have surprised some.
When Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment (singular), he gives a plural answer. “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. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Interesting, isn’t it? That Jesus would put loving other human beings on a par with loving God. Yet, that’s the way that I read it. Love God and love your neighbor.
This is one of those things that sounds easy enough in theory. But when it comes down to putting it into practice…well, that’s another story. Oh, it’s easy enough to love God, right? After all, He’s all loving, forgiving, merciful and compassionate. Why, He probably even looks, dresses and smells like us! But people?? Ugh…they’re mean, nasty, smelly, dishonest. It’s HARD to love them. But wait…I’m one of them. And yet, God loves me.
Father, you know we love you. And yet we have such a difficult time loving our neighbor. Give us the grace to love people like you love people. Amen.