Loving Others


In the Opening Prayer of today’s Liturgy we hear, “Almighty ever-living God, increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”  This prayer truly sets the stage for today’s Gospel reading from Matthew where we have Jesus being a scholar of the law tested Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  Jesus’ response was, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”  From today’s Gospel Mt 22: 34-40.

 How ironic! Jesus faced a parade of dignitaries trying to trap him instead of asking how they could better care for the people surrounding him. Their very actions showed how blind they were to what it really meant to love God or their neighbor.  When we think of the word “love” we may immediately think of love as a feeling. This is understandable due to the strong influence of the media on our world that often illustrates love as a feeling. However, by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross it is revealed to us Christians that love is an action. Like all actions, love requires an initiative from our will. As human beings, we have been given the gift of free will, as such we are not forced to love our God or anyone for that matter. We are invited to love others and our decision to love comes from a place of freedom and reason.

 Let us take this week to reflect on our actions and our intentions behind them. Let us not be afraid to ask ourselves “why we do what we do each day? If you find yourself answering in a way you are not happy with, bring it to Jesus. Let us allow Jesus into our decisions and ask for His help.  Jesus, teach us to love others as you would have us.