Mk 12:28-34 You Shall Love (Click here for readings)
What is the most frequently disobeyed Commandment? You got it, the first and greatest Commandment: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
So what! What happens if I don’t put God in first place? What difference does it really make? The answers to these questions will determine how I live the Golden Rule: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How I treat myself and others depends on how I treat God.
In the United States alone: Abortion - Three babies are aborted every minute. Murder - One murder every thirty-four seconds. Rape: One rape every six minutes. Suicide: Every thirty seconds someone takes their life. Violent Crime: One every twenty-two seconds. Divorce: Two divorces every minute.
Plato argued (and very reasonably), that evil was due to ignorance. That is, bad people don’t know or realize that the happiness they seek lies in the goodness that they shun. How reasonable! But we know from experience that this idea is not true. Sin is the stupidest thing imaginable! We don’t sin because we don’t know better, we sin because we think we can wiggle our way out of a bad situation by taking a shorter shortcut than our enemy, or by being more cunning than the snake that attacks us. Sin is very unreasonable, but so is our faith! Faith is like the incarnation, 99% unbelievable! We have before us a baby who cannot speak or walk until his parents teach him; a man of nerves and bones who gets tired from walking, hungry and thirsty at mid-day, and is beaten, bloodied and nailed to a cross and dies for us. This is our God?
This is totally unreasonable, and yet, totally believable only by the same man’s grace. Not only that, but it is very attractive, inspiring, moving, amazing and shocking that our God, our Lord would do all this for me!
I believe it was Professor Peter Kreeft that wrote, “Sin is unreasonable and although its consequences are devastating, it persists and continues to attract and destroy all those who fall in its trance…Faith is unreasonable too, but its consequences are illuminating and it persists and continues to attract many more though it is constantly attacked and perverted from below.”
Faith begins with the Lord’s grace and an act of faith on my part. The greatest act of faith requires the greatest act of love. Love God above all things. Love God above yourself, your things, your life. In order to begin a journey well, it’s important to start off well. The First Commandment is the best starting point. If God is first in my life, then all other things will fall in their proper place. If I have a great relationship with Christ, then I will have a great relationship with my family and friends, husband and wife, children and grandchildren. If I love Christ, then I will know how to love my neighbor. If I have a great friendship with Christ, then I will know what it takes to maintain a healthy and everlasting friendship with others. If I love Christ, then I will know how to truly love another. If I love Christ, then I will know how to love myself. If I have experienced God’s forgiveness, then I will know how to forgive others. The First Commandment needs to be first on our list, first in our hearts and minds, first in our life, first in our duties.
Love God and you shall love and be loved.