Brian’s Reflection: Sat/Sun, Oct 25,26, 2008
"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."
- From the Gospel of the community called Matthew (22: 36ff)
[reading for Oct 25, RCL, at the Christian Liturgy]
The Pharisees are portrayed as always trying to “trap” Jesus. Why, I can’t help but wonder? You would think that really “religious” and pious persons would want at least to listen to what a man of such wisdom and power would say! But no. At least as portrayed by the Christian Gospel writers - who were undoubtedly trying to aggrandize Jesus at the expense of the Pharisees - the Pharisees were just digging in their prejudiced heels for their own “side”, in order to retain their power at any cost. It seems to me pretty clear that the whole thing has been skewed by self-interest on the part of the Christians.
Jesus is undeterred. Love, He says. Love God. Love your neighbour. Love yourself in the same way, i.e., as God loves you, unconditionally, without reserve. This is the heart of it ALL! If you get it wrong at the start, it will all go haywire.
As it ever has been.
Nothing will change, and nothing will be accomplished by the Christian community for the bringing of the Kingdom of God to the World, until Christian persons, at every step of their life and witness, first asks the Question: How shall I authentically love God, and my neighbour as myself in every moment and at every encounter of the day?
Every hour of every day is an invitation from the God of Love and Justice and Mercy to Get It Right.
Two thousand years have gone by. The human community is in a sad and miserable mess of hate and unlove. The Christian community has failed in it’s vocation.
But. There is always the next moment to take up the call. To be faithful to the Baptismal vows we took, or were taken for us, or have renewed over and over again.
One act of love in the face of indifference.
We can start at any moment. Now is a very good time.