The Core of our Faith
Today’s two Scripture selections combine to offer us a much-needed reminder of the core of our Christian faith: Love. Pure and simple: Love. Love received…Love lived…love shared.
In the Gospel selection from St. Mark one of the Scribes comes to Jesus and asks Him the truly basic question: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” No doubt this is the question which goes to the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry. Interestingly, Jesus’ response cites the statement from the Book of Deuteronomy: love God with your whole being…AND He joins to it the corresponding statement from the Book of Leviticus: love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus combines the two commandments into one: the love of God, neighbor, and self, go hand in hand.
The first reading from 2 Timothy sees St. Paul putting the words of Jesus into practice. Love is unselfish. Love involves sacrifice, a dying to self, a genuine living witness in both word and deed. Love is about life, a sharing of God’s life – a positive spirit of energy and vitality that transforms both people and situations…even suffering and death!
Application to life today is encouraged by the Responsorial Psalm from today’s Eucharist. Based on Psalm 25, it prays: “Teach me your ways, O Lord.” That prayerful request should be on our lips these days as we face the challenge of COVID-19 and the tension and destructive violence resulting from the recent racially related human tragedies. We prayerfully call upon Jesus Crucified to help us LOVE as He loves, in both word and deed, in good times and tragic times. Our love for God intimately involves a down-to-earth love for neighbor and self…as imperfect as we each are.
Jesus: May the Great Commandment of Love motivate each of us and our needy world this day!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.