A reading from the holy Gospel of Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 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: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
REFLECTION: "He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
There are many ways to say, "I love you." There are many ways to say, "I care about you." (Fred Rogers, "Many Ways to Say I Love You") My children grew up with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. And unlike many celebrities he truly indeed was whom he appeared to be. He was the same person in real life as he was on television. He helped children feel good about themselves inspite of their family, misbehavior and slowness in learning. He showed them love without having to preach to them, kindness, and a childlike simplicity in dealing with one another.. He followed the words of St Francis of Assisi, " Preach the gospel at all times; if necesary, use words." ( The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, Amy Hollingsworth) Mr Rogers was an ordained minister and everyday he came in love into our living rooms.
God created us for love. He loved us first. We are to grow in love in order to live in love. It is NOT a feeling but a commitment that does not waver depending on the circumstances. And what a great teacher we have in God--our creator is good, loving and merciful to us. If you are loved you cannot be but loving to others. How to treat one another has been refined by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, through my confessor, smiled at me when I finished my confession, and reminded me of the relationship I have with God: to keep improving myself, continuing on my pilgrimage toward heaven and to keep reaching out to God who will meet me in the humdrum of my life.
Jesus asks us to meet our neighbor in the middle of their preoccupations, during their losses, their joys, their loneliness, their wants, during the Coronavirus pandemic and most important, their need for God, their love. We are His children; you are my brothers and sisters. We are all held in comfort and peace by God. Develop a unique relationship with God and with your neighbor.You cannot love God if you do not love your neighbor. Reminder that our neighbor is also our spouse, family, coworkers, priests, not just the person who lives next door to us.
One way to love our neighbor is to follow the guidelines given to us by the government and health officials for this Coronavirus. Social distance yourself, remember that there are carriers whose immune system is good but their germs might be deadly to the sick and elderly. Stay home if there is no need to go out, and pray. Don't fear because that does not come from God. Put your trust, your love, your faith, your hope and your heart in your Father.
Pass on to one another the love God has shown and given to us. Share your smile and your love daily to whomever God places in your life.