Third Week of Lent:Friday (16/3/2007)
Jesus is being put to the test. The scribe is hoping to catch Jesus blaspheming since along with the Pharisees, they want to have Jesus arrested. If Jesus answered with anything but Love God with all your being they would get him. So Jesus answers correctly but he doesn't stop there. Jesus proclaims that the second greatest Commandment is to love your neighbor and you can't love God if you don't love your neighbor. Now the test is put to the scribe. Will he agree? If he doesn't then he shows himself to be less than faithful to the Ten Commandments.
The message Jesus gives us is that Loving God and neighbor cannot be separated. We cannot practice one while rejecting the other. The depth of our love for God will be reflected in how deeply we love our neighbor and how deeply we love our neighbor will be reflected in how deeply we love God. Sounds great until we have to love, you know, "Those People"! Now we are the ones put to the test.
Everyday we are bombarded with propaganda that tells us that we are supposed to despise this group or that group. Bigotry, classism, sexism, and character assassination are actually glorified in some groups of people! Now that is a complete refusal to follow God's Law of Love. It becomes easy to make a list of people we despise and then start the process of rationalizing our deliberate violation of loving neighbor as we love God. Rationalizing sin sometimes seems like an honored practice! It is very sad. Some people actually recruit people to hate other people. How sad that some people deliberately separate themselves from God to the point that they hate other people and want others to do the same. People who practice hatred of their neighbor are in desperate need of our prayers. We cannot in turn despise those who hate. If we do, then we become just like them and we separate ourselves from God's love.
No one is unlovable in God's eyes. No one is an outcast in God's eyes. No one is beyond redemption in God's eyes. God never abandons us or gives up on us. So why do we label other people and treat them as unworthy and abandon God's command to love each other? Are we trying to chase away our own feelings of unworthiness by treating others unworthily? When we give into feeling superior, we are breaking the very Commandment that Jesus tells us is second only to loving God. Kind of important to not do that.
Let us always remember that God is love and we are to mirror that. Whenever we treat someone as less than a child of God, we are mistreating God. There is no "Those People" but only Us, the Children of God.
Thank you God for loving us. May we prove ourselves grateful by loving our neighbor as much as you love us.