A couple of years ago, I attended an AA meeting at our Passionist Retreat Center in Houston to learn more about the AA movement. During the time of sharing one of the men in the group told of an experience he had in his family. He shared how his mother had guided him when he was a small child. She told him to follow the "three golden rules in life". (1) Do not take it, if it is not yours. (2) Do not say it, if it is not truth. (3) Do not do it, if you think it is not the right thing to do. His mother had given him the basic rules to live his life. It would apply to all, irrespective of any religion we belong to. Today’s reading invites us to reflect on the commandments that God has given for our Christian life.
In the first reading, the prophet Hosea invites the Israelites to repent from their sinfulness and return to God by following the straight path of Yahweh. In the Gospel, one of the teachers of the law asks Jesus a question, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Even though every law was important for them to follow. Jesus summarizes all the commandments saying that they all amount to love of God with all your being. Jesus adds the second saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". For Jesus, every law must guide us to improve our relationship with God and with one another. Love of God and love of neighbor are so closely joined that they cannot be separated.
During this Lenten season, let’s ask the Lord to bless us and continue to strengthen us to love God through loving our brothers and sisters.
Fr. A. Justin Nelson, C.P. is a member of our Indian Vicariate and temporarily stationed at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.