What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves!


 

The readings for today are incredible; there is so much to hear and learn in these readings, it is difficult to pick out something to reflect on! I think I will start with a passage from the First Reading: “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”  Each line of this passage speaks volumes about our relationships with the Lord. As Paul said in this letter to Timothy, if we are willing to live our earthly lives for Christ, then we can also spend our eternal lives with him. However, if we reject Christ in our lives on earth, then he will deny us entrance into his heavenly kingdom. The last line of this passage points to God’s infinite mercy and love, because even if we mess up in life (which we inevitably will) God still shows his love for us by forgiving us and continuing to pour out his love in our lives.

Mark also draws attention to the argumentative scribes and Pharisees. Someone went to Jesus and asked, “What’s the most important commandment – what is the one that matters most?” Now, interestingly, Jesus did not recite one of the Ten Commandments, handed down to Moses on the mountain. Instead, He chose one of the many laws and commandments recorded in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He chose this one because, if we follow it, all of the other commandments fall in place beside and behind it:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind,  and with all your strength.

What does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will. Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises.

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” When we do this, all the rest of prayer and spiritual life steps into line behind it. You cannot claim to love the God you do not see if you do not love the neighbor who stands right before you. Look into the mirror – the way in which you love your neighbor reflects the depth and the breadth of your love for God.

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