When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to 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 neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Jesus makes it simple: everything comes back to love. Do you want to know peace on earth? Love God and love your neighbor. Do you want to know happiness and joy? Love God and love your neighbor. Do you want to know the meaning of life? Love God and love your neighbor.
Jesus shows us three ways to love: he was present, he shared who he was, and he was inclusive. We can make ourselves present to God by spending time with him in prayer. We can share who we are with God by being honest with him—God wants an authentic relationship with us. We can invite others to share in God’s mercy by being merciful ourselves.
These two questions can help you live the commandments: Are you present to others, without exception? Are you generous in the way you share yourself with them? Reflect on them daily.
—Bob Burnham, OFS, a Secular Franciscan and spiritual director, writes and edits for Loyola Press in Chicago.
Love consists in sharing
what one has
and what one is
with those one loves.
Love ought to show itself in deeds
more than in words.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, inHearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, ed. Michael Harter, S.J. (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2004).