Friday, November 3, 2006

That We May Love Him

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 5, 2006
Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins
Deuteronomy 2:2-6
Psalm 18:2-4; 47, 51
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 12:28-34

That We May Love Him

Without reservation, let us love the Lord our God

The nature of our devotion is experienced with our complete being. Scripture states a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 4:7-8) This accounts for the powerlessness many feel in their lives and relationship with the Lord. The Christian experience is a matter of the heart. In Scripture, the heart is often understood as meaning our entire being and effort. Much like when we say, “His heart’s not in it,” so likewise, we can worship God with our lips, yet are heart is far from him. The completeness of our selves depends on bringing our whole selves to the adoration of the living God.

He whom we worship is the only Lord. These words, originally spoken by Moses are to be taken to heart. He, who was the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, became the babe in a manger. He, who routed the gods of Egypt, reminds us today there are not many gods nor are there many lords. The Church is to hear what Israel heard, that is, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Moses, with his shining face, came down from Mt. Sinai. In a way, Moses’ face became the face of this one and only God to Israel. This prepared humanity to encounter God in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. It is in the incarnation we realize there is no God like our God. Mary, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, conceived in her womb the only Son of the Father. And in her arms she held the Savior of the world; and beholding the face of God, she gently kissed his cheek.

The love that unites the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the same love that unites us to our neighbor. We know that God is love, because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that we would not perish but have everlasting life. How will our neighbor know that God is love? In what ways do you see those in the pews around you as your neighbor? If God did not remain distant and untouchable, how can you be perfected in love until you love your neighbor as yourself? Our love of God is incomplete without knowing, loving, serving our neighbor as we would ourselves. As we draw near to God we will learn how to draw near to our neighbor. In the story of the man who fell among thieves, it was he who showed mercy and love that proved to be neighbor to the man who had been beaten up by robbers. Such has been the Church throughout the ages. She has been a father to the fatherless, a husband to the widows, a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Without reservation, let us love the Lord our God.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, teach me how I may love you with my whole heart. Show me how I may love others as myself. Draw me closer to you until my heart beats for you like your heart beats for my neighbor and me. Amen.

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