Friday, 3rd week of Lent, Year A

The most important commandment for God’s Kingdom

Readings: 1st: Hos 14:2-10; Ps: 80; Gos: Mk 12:28-34

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

As we continue our journey this Lenten season, we reflect on one of the most important Christian virtues necessary for our journey towards the kingdom of God.

In today’s gospel, Christ answered a “difficult” question: “Master, which is the greatest of the Commandments?” Through his response, Jesus presents us with two very important dimensions of love or what I would like to refer to as “cross-form” dimensions of love.  

The first is, the vertical dimension of love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” It is important to note that, to love God with one’s body and soul requires a lot of sacrifice, and humility. To love God is the most important perquisite of being like him.

The second dimension of love is, the horizontal: “You must love your neighbor as yourself?” This is more difficult than the first. This is because, we neglect and take it for granted. This is, by thinking that we can love God alone without loving our neighbors.

Hence, Christ reminds us that: “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. He who does not love his brother whom he can see, cannot love God whom he cannot see” (1 Jn 4:20). So, the best way of expressing our love for God is through our neighbors. We must affect others positively in order to love God well.

So, in light of the situation of our world today, we must ask ourselves this very important question, who is my neighbor, and how am I loving and caring for him or her. Both this season of lent, and this perilous time of COVID -19 pandemic, presents us the practical opportunity to evaluate our relationship with God and our neighbor. If we are selfish, uncharitable and unmerciful towards our neighbor, then, it will be difficult to convince any one that we love God.

This is the time to truly be our brother’s keeper, and a time of solidarity. It is time to help our neighbor to rise and stand firm. It is a time to demonstrate that we can see, serve and love God through our neighbor. This is the key to entering the Kingdom of God. So, let us pray that God may keep us faithful in his love.

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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