The Greatest Commandment

Reading I: Exodus 22:20-26
Reading II: 1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

To love one’s neighbor can be challenging especially when the people next door is bad-mannered or getting on our nerves. To show love to such people is really difficult and demands great effort. Jesus makes an important point that love for God and love for neighbor cannot be separated. Love for God and love for neighbor are complementary. It is hard to believe that our love for God is sincere if the treatment of our neighbor is unjust. Make no mistakes, our religion can become an escape and our holiness an illusion even if we receive communion every Sunday, even if we are devoted to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesday, or First Friday Devotion or pray every day, but we refuse to greet a neighbor, avoid our mother-in-law or do not talk to a brother, our mass and prayers are defective.
On the other hand, love for neighbor cannot last long without love for God. At times we see nothing lovable in someone for we experienced only frustration and hurt feelings in our contacts with him. Without God’s help we give up on an unfaithful husband or the person who committed an injustice against us. As Christians however, who love God, we follow his teachings instead of our bad feelings. We forgive and look for peaceful and effective ways to contain or solve a problem.
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