The scribe said to Jesus, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he. And to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
Dear Lord, create in me a pure heart, a pure mind and a pure soul that I may love you as you should be loved. To love is your greatest gift. To love you is an amazing gift. You created man and woman in your own image and likeness; you created man and woman to love and be loved and our greatest desire is to love and be loved by you. Your first commandment is your greatest gift: To love you with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. Help me Lord, to avoid at all cost, to use your words against you! Yes, your son once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” How horrible, my Lord and my God, would it be to place you - the first among all things - last in my life and put myself, the last of all things, first! May it never happen! I have learned the hard way, My God. I have seen the proud placed in their soft coffins and the meek scattered in a box. But for you, Lord, size means nothing. What makes a person remarkable is not their size but their significance and I know the secret: the more you love, the more significant you become.
“Have a fun and safe Spring Break!” These are the words that I read off of a school marquee I drove by last night. It made me very sad. It usually doesn’t, but this time it did. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Actually, I couldn’t believe what was missing. What bothered me most was that these words were written on a Catholic School marquee. Again, I couldn’t believe it! Of course I have read politically correct and/or sterile messages before on public school marquees. And on numerous occasions! And I have never had a problem with it because I never expected anything more from it. But is this the message we expect from a Catholic School? It should have read, “Have a fun, safe and blessed [or holy] Spring Break!” Who knows, maybe a Catholic student headed to Fort Lauderdale would have been impressed by it, or would have been taken aback by it. Who knows?
But I do know what you are thinking: Give me a break father! Why are you making such a big thing out of nothing? There are so many larger issues that need to be addressed. Why this one? The answer is simple: It is not “nothing”; it is something. It is the outward sign of something grotesque, like the pimple of a staph infection. It is similar to the opened eyes of rigor mortis. It is the outward sign of a dead faith; of a philosophy and theology of life that is not lived.
Of course a mistake may have occurred, and I accept that. But it’s far too common and far too dangerous to consider it as an outlier.
A repetitive message without God is synonymous to a repetitive life without God. It is also analogous to repeating the same mistakes over and over again in one’s life.
An on-going message without God is like thinking small all day long. If I don’t think God daily in my life, then I will only think human all day long at that is thinking small. If God is not the biggest part of my life, then it will not be the biggest part of my message. And last night, I saw nothing of God. If I don’t thank God for my life, then I won’t thank God for the lives of others.
What I saw last night can best be described as a lost opportunity. You see no public institution can write “blessed” or “holy”. So while Catholics can, we must. And to not do so would be a loss of an opportunity at minimum. When individuals lose sight of the bigger message, then it is their loss. But when individuals that represent institutions lose sight of a more significant message and a more significant Person, then it is the blind leading everyone to blindness and into a dark cave.
Love of God is “worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” So true! We should never forget it because those who live the First Commandment are historically offered up as a holocaust by those who don’t live it at all. It is in everyone’s best interest that we all live by the First and Greatest Commandment. Now, let’s start sharing our message in all possible ways.