FRIDAY 13 MARCH 2015
The Gospel of today according to Mark takes us to the heart of our Christian life.It sifts through all the verses in the first five books of the Bible and identifies two verses which encapsulate the Christian way of life. One verse is from Deuteronomy 6,5 and the other verse is from Leviticus 19,18. From these two verses we get the greatest commandment taught and exemplified in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ namely: Love God with all your heart, soul and might and love your neighbour as yourself. It is so refreshing to be guided by what is essential for our moral life rather than to be inundated by all kinds of rules and demands which only confuse us. The same is true about our prayer life.The Bible is full of different kinds of prayers which can be quite confusing.But Jesus taught us the greatest prayer, the Prayer of all prayers namely the Our Father.
In this way we are able to remain focused and clear about our calling and prayer life.
It may seem strange to view the love of God and neighbour as a commandment. A commandment is usually understood as an imposition, a rule, which is forced on us demanding our obedience. Yet to love someone presumes freedom. It is not possible to force someone to love. So why call it a commandment? The best way to understand this is to remember that we are talking about our divine calling through which God is offering us Eternal Life. If we want to enjoy Eternal Life in the Reign of God then we have no other option but to freely choose the one and only Way which God has provided for us in the Kingdom of God, namely the Christ way of loving God and neighbour. Yes, we cannot be forced to love but neither can we enjoy Eternal Life without love. There is no other way in the Kingdom of God. God cannot force us to love but at the same time God cannot grant us Eternal Life unless we do love. In this sense it is the greatest commandment.
Of course such a commandment would be impossible for us to keep if we were not first loved by God. And this is what is so liberating about the greatest commandment namely that it is our loving response to the Saving God who loved us first and gave us a share in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Prepare for next Sunday’s Mass with your family by reflecting together on the Gospel reading John 3,14 -21 “For God so loved the world…” and consider how the love of God and neighbour is expressed in your lives and how this could be improved.
- As we are now half way through the period of Lent,review and renew the decisions that were taken at the beginning of Lent.
- Make use of the special Lenten practices in the parish especially making use of the opportunity for confession and receiving the grace of reconcilaition in the Sacrament of Penance.
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us and teaching us the greatest commandment which is essential for the Kingdom of Eternal Life.
Holy Spirit, enlighten our hearts and minds and help us to experience more deeply your Divine Love so that we can be more faithful to the greatest commandment of loving God above all and our neighbour as ourselves.
Heavenly Father,thank you for your unconditional love and mercy towards us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
+Bishop Joaõ Rodrigues
Diocese of Tzaneen