Today’s Gospel comes from Mark 12:28-34. In the Gospel a Scribe asks Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” And Jesus replies, “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; love your neighbor as yourself.”
I went to Catholic School for my elementary years and had these two commandments drilled into my brain. If anyone asked me what the two greatest commandments were, I could answer them in seconds. I was always so proud of the fact that I knew them, but unfortunately these two commandments were never explained well so I never fully understood them.
What are the Ten Commandments really about? If you don’t remember the Ten Commandments I’d recommend you brush up on them, especially during Lent (CCC 2052). The first part of the two is “Love the Lord your God.” Well that’s easy, I most certainly love the Lord. Then the second part comes, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Then the grumbling commences.
“He bugs me.”
“I will never forgive him.”
“I will never speak to her again.”
The list could go on and on. It is truly hard to love your neighbor as yourself, and you may even question God if it is even possible. But I’ve realized if I’m struggling with the second, am I really practicing the first like I ought to be? I then realize where I fail in that aspect. I do not give my time to Him to get to know Him, and if I don’t do that how can I love Him? I then realize to fully love the Lord I must spend time with Him in prayer, reading the bible and regularly receiving the sacraments. When I do this, I know loving my neighbor won’t be as hard as it seems because by truly loving God I can truly love my neighbor.
Yes, loving your neighbor as yourself is hard, but we must place them in His merciful heart. We must ask Jesus to teach us how to love. We live in a world where the meaning of love is distorted, and used in many ways; but Jesus came to teach us to love. The love Jesus has for us brought Him to the cross, so be with Jesus at the foot of the cross with His Blessed Mother and pray, “Dearest Jesus, teach me to love as You love.” In order to forgive we must die to our selfish ways and then Jesus’ love will inflame us to truly love Him and our neighbor.
This Gospel challenges us this Lent to really practice and obey these great commandments. We are able to reflect on them, and see the ways in our own lives we can improve. Never be afraid to ask God to help you. He is always ready to help you more clearly see the truth. Also, never be afraid to meet Jesus at the foot of the cross, so He can teach you how to love.