Look to the second to gauge the first.

We heard today[1] the continuing plotting by the ruling Jewish religious leaders against Jesus that eventually leads them to kill Him.  But sometimes I think we miss what Jesus is doing to those same leaders.  Jesus’ continues to evangelize those same leaders.  Jesus even tells us why He is doing what He is doing; He loves God and loves His neighbor.

It has been told that Mother Teresa told a reporter once (who had just commented at how wonderful it was that she built her hospital to help people) that she did it because she loves God and He expects nothing less from those who love him. If we love God then we love those around us – regardless.

It is a hard practice, to love everyone; it is probably the one attitude of a disciple that we fail at the most.  Some people don’t make it easy for other people to love them; but for us Christians this failure to love has more to do with us than them.  If Christ, who knows what the Sadducees and the Pharisees were plotting can still love them;  if Christ, who looked forgivingly on those who nailed him to the cross then you and I should be able to open our hearts to those who annoy us, bother us, even openly antagonize us.

St. John, in his first letter, tells us: ‘If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.[2]  He reminds us that Christ gave us a gauge to tell us how well we are living the greatest commandment – by how well be are living the second.

We are drawing to the end of this liturgical year.  The lessons during this time of the year teach us what we need to do as faithful disciples.  Let’s deepen our prayer to the Father for help in following these great commandments – especially the second one.  When we grow in our capacity to love our neighbor we can know that we are growing in our capacity to love God.

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[1] Gospel today -Mt 22: 34-40
[2] 1 Jn 4:40

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