Friday, August 19, 2016

Are you aware that you cannot love God as long as you do not love your fellowmen? - Daily Reflections August 19, 2016

“Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?” Wasn’t it a strange question that the scholar of the law asked Jesus? I think not. The original Ten Commandments had multiplied and eventually the Pharisees counted over 300 commandments of the law. These 300 commandments were the source of constant discussion — what is allowed and not allowed by each of them. As a result, the Jews literally came up with thousands of rules and regulations that were meant to direct the behavior of pious Jews.
       And so it was natural to ask which of the laws and rules was the most important. Was the lawyer serious or was he just trying to trick Jesus? We will never know. But it does not matter what the intention of the lawyer was. More important is the answer of Jesus. With marvelous ease, Jesus brings in downright simplicity into the mess of laws and regulations that cluttered up Jewish theology. He reduces all the laws to two commandments: “Love God” and “Love thy neighbor.”
       Jesus makes the two commandments one: two sides of a single coin. He makes it clear that we cannot separate one from the other. And this one most basic commandment that sums up all the rest is expressed in the word “love.” Love, therefore, is at the heart of Christianity. Love does not address rules and commandments. It invades life in the presence of, and as a response to, persons. The motivation of Christian behavior, therefore, is not a law that one fears to break, but a person who is personified love (God) and the person to be loved (our neighbor).
       Out of love for the Father and out of love for sinful men and women, the Son of God entered into our world to begin the work of salvation. The vertical and horizontal beams of the Cross remind us of the inseparable love for God and neighbor.
    May our love of the Father and of the neighbor motivate all our thoughts and actions and so make us more Christ-like. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you aware that you cannot love God as long as you do not love your fellowmen?
Lord, forgive me for my limited love for my fellowmen. Make me remember every time I see a cross that my love for You is nothing if I do not love those around me. Amen.

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