Love God and Neighbour
In today’s gospel passage we find Jesus being tested by the Pharisees and a lawyer questions him, “which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus answers him, ‘you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 22:34-40). Jesus’ answer teaches us that the most important commandment is to love God in loving others and to love others in loving God. In other words, we are to love God and express it by loving our neighbour because God lives in him or her: “God created humankind in His image” (Genesis 1:27).
God, Neighbour, Self cannot be separate – we are all one in this powerful, mysterious, and creative energy called LOVE. Therefore, love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable and relational. One of them cannot be accomplished without the other, for he who loves God, loves neighbours (1 John 4:20). God is Love, and one who abides in love, abides in God and God in him or her (John 15: 9-10). Jesus is inviting us to abide in his love because we are all his children.
Time and again, Pope Francis exhorts this thought in his writings. He says, “Through our love for our neighbour we can get to know God, who is love. Only through loving can we reach love.” Our love for neighbour can bring us to God.
These commandments remind us, as Oblates, of the fraternal charity of our founder. They remind us to practice that legacy in our communities and become a symbol of unity and love. They remind us to bear witness to the world. “By growing in unity of heart and mind we bear witness before the world that Jesus lives in our midst and unites us in order to send us to proclaim God’s reign,” (Constitutions and Rules 37)
In this world of oppression, hatred, violence, war, discrimination, inequality, racism, and injustice let us become the symbol of love, and promote this “civilization of love” (Pope Paul VI) in our society because: “the commandment we have from Him is this, those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (I John 4: 21).
By Arokia Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI
Vocation Team – Central