Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Book of the Prophet Hosea 14:2-10, Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17, & Mark 12:28-34
Today’s Gospel narrative has to be on the “favorite list” of many people. Asked by one of the scribes what is the most important commandment, Jesus responds by quoting from two different Hebrew Bible texts— Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Our Lord summarized the entire Law of the Prophets with these two texts.
The summary was that you must “love God and love your neighbor.” It was as simple as that. However, like everything that is of vital importance, the simplicity masks the actual accomplishing, or as I have often said, “It is easier to say than to do.”
Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner debated in his article entitled, The Identity of the Love of God and the Love of Neighbor, that in the very act by which one loves God, one loves their neighbor. Conversely, in the very act by which a person loves their neighbor, they love God. In other words, he says there is an identity to the two loves that ultimately make them one in the same love. They are not just like each other; they are the same thing. Therefore, Fr. Rahner provides an answer to the question of, “How do I love God?” Simple—I love God when I love my neighbor.
Throughout the Gospel, Jesus identified the love of neighbor as the Samaritan who cared for the man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. The Samaritan tended to the man in need unselfishly, while others walked by and ignored him. In other Gospel passages, it is in the simple act of clothing the naked, feeding the poor, visiting the imprisoned, and so forth, which matches our salvation criteria.
Our challenge is to enact our love of God by loving one another. We make real our love of God through our actions of love, peace, and justice towards each other.
Question of the Day: In what ways will you transmit love to others in the same manner in which you display your love for God?
Prayer: Lord God, help us to love truly You and to truly love one another as women and men of faith, hope, and charity. Keep us close to You by being close to each other. Amen.