In attending mass today, today’s short and simplistic gospel really struck me. I really wanted to share with you what my heart received during the homily. & so the gospel read:
The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Today’s homily pointed out how we often get these two commandments mixed up. The Lord has given us clear instructions: the FIRST and greatest commandment is to love Him FIRST. THEN, we must “love our neighbors as ourselves”.
The Lord didn’t hesitate when he gave us this commandment. He didn’t say “hmm you know what, I think maybe the greatest commandment is to love me above all. But if you want to love your neighbor before me, that’s cool too. Whatever works for you.” No. He calls us all to this great commandment.
How many times do we put another person/priority before God? A boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, work, friend(s), sports, a tv show, going out, etc.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”
We love others and ourselves best, when we love God most.
God told us two key things in His teaching as he was asked to break it down. He didn’t say “if you love me 50% and another person 50% then you’re good. Or if you want to give me a little more, maybe 60% – so you can love me a little more, & then you can love another 40%, that’s good.” No again. He told ALL of us that the key is that we have to take the time to get to know and love Him first before we can grow in love with ourselves or love anyone else.
When we try to seek love in someone/something else, we are giving them the responsibility that they must fulfill our happiness, but we must learn: only God, and God alone can do this. Because when we love him first & most we are most free to love others truly and maturely. If not, we fall into codependence.
God alone is the only one who can fulfill the love we need. We all long for love, and we all want it – that is what God created us for. To love and to be loved. It is only natural that we seek it continually. But it is where we seek it that is important. If we continue to search for it in another – boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, or in idols – make up, clothes, shoes, or in any thing – drugs, alcohol – then we will never be satisfied.
We can only receive the love we need until we search for it from the source. For example, you know whenever you get something new, lets say a new shelf. To build it the right way, we must look to the instructions in order to know what it was created for and how to build it in the way it will work best. In this same way, we must look to God to provide us with the instructions on how to live and how to love, for he is our Creator.
Often times, we rush from relationship to relationship, from person to person, searching for love & longing for what we think we lack – when all along we search in the wrong place. Yearning for a love that we think will fill us, but all along God is waiting patiently. He longs to fill you because truly, He is the only one who can satisfy. However, He does gives us free will – He give us the tools to bring us closer to Him – but we have to choose them.
God makes us capable of loving others best once we have placed him first.
I leave you with three words. Take the time. Take the time to get to know the one who created you. And how much he loves you. If you continue seeking love in another, longing for them to fulfill your happiness – it will never work. The priest today shared that often times couples enter into marriages or relationships without realizing this fact. I wish somebody would have told me this years ago. At 24, I am learning each day new, just how much the Lord loves me. And I can tell you that personally it has helped me love myself more fully and others around me best. Starting with God, my family, others, myself. I know that not until I find my true worth and love in God, will I be best capable of loving another in a deeper relationship. It is only fair to you and those around you, to take the time.
Since its 2017, we don’t typically use maps, we rely on GPS, right? We often rush to places, leaving our homes & sometimes not truly knowing where we are going, we say “I don’t have the time to read a map, I will just use my GPS.” Sure it is easier (I use it all the time lol). But when we look at this analogy more deeply, we can think: how will we know the extraordinary love we long & and are created for until we take the time to figure out where we’re going first. Taking the time to know just what the Lord is calling us to -whether it be marriage, religious life, starting a new project, choosing a new major, etc. Not until we take the time to open our hearts to loving God first with all our hearts, our minds, and our souls will he allow us the capability of loving another.
As humans we are imperfect, therefore there is no way we can ever completely satisfy or complete another fully or vise versa. People will always disappoint us, or let us down, and that is okay. Because they were never meant to satisfy us in the first place.
Reflect: Are you placing idols/priorities/another person before God? Reflect on ways you can seek to love the Lord first. I myself often times find myself unknowingly placing other priorities before God. I am learning to recenter myself and run to Him in prayer. It is easy to seek fulfillment in others because that is what the world tells us to do. When I find myself doing this, I quickly practice the prayer “Lord, if you will, make me clean. Fix my eyes on your Love.”
I share with & encourage you again:
37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”