March 29 - Love the Lord Your God
Mar 29, 2019
Scriptures: God rescued the Hebrew people from slavery, gave them the law, led them to the promised land, and then granted them an everlasting kingdom through David. You would think that they would be eternally grateful and faithful to such a giver of good things as the Lord has proven to be. The problem is this itchy little thing called sin. Its attraction continuously draws us to selfishness and infidelity toward God. The problem with abandoning God, is that God will allow it. Without God's protection, Israel was defeated and the people were exiled. However, the Lord, even though his people were unfaithful to him, showed his faithfulness to His chosen people by offering a renewed love. In the Gospel, we are reminded that the first and most important thing a person can do is to acknowledge that God is One, and that we should love God with all Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Core Principle of Faith: The prayer above is called the Shema. The Shema is prayed twice a day by Orthodox Jews and often by children before they go to bed at night. It is also the case that these words are often reserved for a person's last words if they can manage. When Jesus begins with the Shema he is calling to mind the books of the law, but then goes on to give us the heart of the law. Which is to love God and your neighbor. After Jesus answers the scribe, the scribe confirms Christ's answer but goes one step further and says that "it is worth more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices." Jesus' response to this unexpected intuition was to affirm that the scribe was "not far from the Kingdom of God." There is the pregnant moment after Jesus said that to the scribe and "No one dared to ask him any more questions." I believe that the fear was a holy fear, when something as profound as the scribes insight is spoken, people are called to reflect rather than push on.
Living this at Home: When we prepare to hear the Gospel Message, we say, "Glory to you oh Lord" and we make the sign of the cross on our forehead, lips, and heart. There is a silent prayer that is supposed to be thought/said as that action is taken. "May the word of God be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart." How do we truly live our love for God and our love for our neighbor? How do we teach our children to love with ALL their heart, soul, mind, and strength? If I had an easy answer, I'd probably be working in the Vatican. I can make one promise though, the more a young person sees the full outpouring of love, the more they will learn to emulate it. Therefore, I believe it would be wise to make a commitment to be a good example. To compliment your efforts, you can study the saints and share those stories with the children. They will learn great love through the saints. Each one you learn of, can truly become your newest friends.