All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
There are in America 892 active hate groups; of which nine are here in Wisconsin. There are only two states in our country where there are no known active hate groups, Alaska and Hawaii. We have witnessed their faces leading up to the past election and following the election. It seems these voices have been given permission to be more vocal. Freedom of speech has to be based upon a fundamental agreement that is reflected upon the two great commandments God has given us. What is happening to our country? I do not know, but I am very concerned about our country.
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself, (Matthew 22:37-39).” Jesus in answering the Pharisee’s question goes beyond the extent of the question in joining the two commandments together. Love of God and love of one’s neighbor cannot be separated. They are one law. This is how Jesus lived his life while here on earth. His words and His actions were one. Who can argue with this? Not even a Pharisee.
This combination probably existed before Jesus, but His voice and His actions have brought them together for us, His disciples. St. John in his first letter stated, “Whoever says, ‘I know Him, (Jesus),’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4). The combination of these two commandments is at the heart of the early church’s understanding of Jesus’ teaching. St. James in his letter boldly states, “Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:17).” The combination of these two commandments is our starting point. Let me repeat this fundamental principle of discipleship: the two great commandments and our adhering to them is where discipleship begins.
Living these two commandments we give testimony that we are truly His disciples. At the conclusion of this liturgical year, on the Feast of Christ the King, we will hear Jesus will judge us according to these two commandments. Today, our first reading from the Book of Exodus answers the question, “Who is our neighbor?” The immigrant, the widow, single moms, children without parents, the poor are our neighbors, in whom God recognizes as His own. St. Paul in our second reading affirmed the Thessalonians for the manner their faith had become a part of living life. He told them their lives had become the Word of the Lord that was sent forth. When we treat others with compassion, we do so because God is merciful and compassionate toward us, especially when we are most in need. Like the Thessalonians, our lives become the Word of the Lord that is sent forth. If Jesus were to test us by asking, “What is the greatest commandment?” our verbal answer might pass with flying colors. But would the way we live pass the test? This is what the Word of God is calling us to examine.
Sincerely yours in Christ,