When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the Law is the greatest?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.
“And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
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Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus through their question, it is not a bad idea to sincerely look to Him regularly and ask where our priorities should be. Christ tells us that to love the Lord with our whole being — heart, soul, and mind — is the greatest and first commandment, and it is evident how this commandment encompasses the others. When we are united with our Father, and when we receive His Love and give it to Him in return, He provides us with the means and motivation to love our neighbour and live life in beauty, goodness, truth. However, it is a challenge to “keep the main thing, the main thing” when there are so many distractions competing for our attention.
Lately, I have been letting myself get swept up in the world and its worries. It’s so easy to get caught up in the news, social media, stress at work or school, thinking about all the struggles and sufferings, and be overwhelmed by not knowing where to direct my energy as I strive to make a difference. Without direction, purpose, and intent, all my efforts will be in vain — and so what takes precedence in my life must be loving He who loves me. This highest call is what will enable me to listen and courageously pursue good works in the world, which are also hugely important. His love, and my love for Him, will give me what I need to become fully alive and lead others to Him. It’s so simple, yet prayer and acts of unity and communion take effort and grace in and of themselves — as there are passive and active forces that can deter us from this goal.
This week’s Gospel is one I’ve heard so many times that I could easily breeze past it… but I feel the Holy Spirit asking me to be still in its simplicity and let His words penetrate and resonate within my heart. Our Father, Our Creator, Our Redeemer… He pleads with us and implores us to love Him. How humbling, to be asked to reciprocate a love that I cannot work to earn and that is offered freely. If I am too busy to accept this gift or to work toward making a habit of giving back in thanksgiving, then I am missing out on the richest and greatest gift life has for me. Be still my soul.