Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Greatest Commandments

As I reflected over this coming Sunday's readings, a barrage of thoughts came flooding. Some were statements from CDs and talks I had listened to and attended, others were from recent readings, and yet others were reflections within my mind.

This Sunday's Gospel is about the Greatest Commandment. Jesus is asked for one, however He gives two: 'You shall love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all mind. This is the greatest and the first Commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets rely on these two Commandments.'

Some of the thoughts that came to mind during my reflection were:

  • Open my eyes to see as You see
  • No one is so faulty that You can not make them a Saint
  • My weakness is no deterrent to His grace
  • The only one who could fulfill the justice of God is God Himself
  • There are no limits to the mercy of God
  • We are called to be Saints - to be holy
  • We affect everyone we come in contact with - everyone in our lives
  • Jesus gives us a new Commandment: Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU

So many thoughts running through - but what do they all mean?

Love your neighbor as yourself. Do I love myself? If I do not love myself, how can I love my neighbor? There is dignity and honor to being one's neighbor. I have the choice to love God, love myself, and love my neighbor. Do I act upon that love?

Then I started thinking about my neighbor - WHO is my neighbor? Geography came to mind - people next door, down the street, next street over, parishioners in my Church, and others who I come in contact with every day.

Then THAT neighbor came to mind. You know the one. The one who is absolutely obnoxious; drives you crazy; makes you upset just looking at him/her. The one most unlike (like) you - or - The one who uses your things and never puts them away; the one who borrows things and returns them broken; the one who allows their dog to poop in your yard and never picks it up; the one who revs the bike late at night when you're trying to relax or sleep; the one who plays that loud, awful music; the neighbor you would love to hate. And you think, Oh, if only God would allow it just this one time. And He humbles you.

There are no limits to the mercy of God. We are all God's children - He would never forsake one of His children. The refusal of God's Fatherly love is always at the root of humanity's divisions. How can I say that I love God and not love this neighbor? If we are all made in the image and likeness of God ... then that goes for my neighbor as well. God loves my neighbor, even the most obnoxious of all neighbors, despite their faults. We have a certain dignity in being in the image and likeness of God. We also have a responsibility as such.

True love of God yeilds love for our neighbor - without it, it may temporarily relieve our [my] conscience, but it will never bear lasting fruit. ~ Pope John Paul II

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