Friday, August 21, 2015
Reflection: Matthew 22:34-40
Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time — Matthew 22:34-40
Today the Pharisees decide to test Jesus. They had heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees. They gathered around Jesus, and one of the scholars of the law asked Jesus: “What is the greatest commandment in the law?” Naturally, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” Jesus affirmed that this commandment was the first and the greatest of all the commandments.
Jesus then continued and said: “The second commandment is similar: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Today Jesus is asking us to be wholehearted. He desires that we love God wholeheartedly. God should be first and foremost in our lives. However, Jesus also tells us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” Both commandments are challenging. However, the instruction to love our neighbor as we love ourselves may be more challenging than the first commandment! This 2nd commandment often stretches us in uncomfortable ways. We don’t always like our neighbor. Our neighbor may be an individual who may have wounded us, insulted us or ignored us. And the emotion we experience with this individual most likely is far from being ‘loving.’
Yet, Jesus calls us to love each and every person we encounter: the ones we like as well as the individuals we prefer to keep our distance from. Today strive to keep Jesus’ call in your mind and heart. Consciously strive to love each and every person you encounter, no matter how you feel about them. Who knows: you may encounter an individual who consciously may be striving to love you!