Count the Ways of Love

Mark 12: 28-34
2 Tm 2: 8-15 / Ps 25: 4-5, 8-10 and 14

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind and with all your strength.
(Mark 12:30)

In loving God, Jesus has defined
How we must strive to reach our goal:
With all our strength, all our heart and mind,
But most of all, with all our soul.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them debating, and saw how well Jesus had answered the Sadducees, asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered, “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” The scribe replied, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask Him any more questions. (Mark
12: 28-34)

Reflection

Notice in today’s Gospel reading how the atmosphere has suddenly changed into a more amicable setting, in contrast to Jesus’ earlier verbal encounters with the religious authorities (the “tenants”), the Pharisees and Herodians (on paying taxes), and the Sadducees (on the resurrection). Why? Because one sensible scribe was not out to entrap Jesus, but had genuinely wanted to discuss the greatest commandment of God, which is love. Imagine a teacher of the law, not delving into his legal profession, but on the subject of love. It was only fitting therefore that the conversation should suddenly turn amiable.

Loving God and neighbor are the greatest commandments because they are done not in obedience to laws, but in imitation and adulation of the Father’s nature, Who is Love. Love is the greatest commandment because it is not just a commandment, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit that God gives to His faithful children. It is not just a task to perform, but a commitment to give of our self without conditions, without limits.

Jesus said we must love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. To love Him perfectly (as He is perfect), He must always be in our mind and in our heart (perhaps this is what praying and meditation is all about); and in all our activities (the things we do out of love for God). St. Paul says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col.3:17) Loving God requires so much passion that even if I slept at midnight last night, I could get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to write this Gospel reflection for today. But I could never do this every day if I did not love God with all my soul. Above all, true love must be spiritual, otherwise it is not love at all. It is His Holy Spirit after all that gives us the inspiration to persevere. He is the one Who writes these messages. In fact He is the One Who writes our lives. God is the Author of our lives.

I believe we have become what we are because of God’s love. Our love affair with God is, in the final analysis, transformational. Just as our life has been transformed by the sacrament of marriage – and conjugal love comes from Him too – we have become better persons not because of so much effort on our part, but because God revealed to us the true meaning of His love. In all gratitude for His gift, how can we not love Him with everything we’ve got?

Dear God, You are love. You have shown us that the more we love others, the closer we come to reflect Your image and likeness. Thank You, Lord, for this revelation. Amen.

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