The First Commandment

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Reflection on the Gospel of the Thirty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time

Mark 12:28b-34

The heart of the matter is Love of God. Love isn’t self centered. It is a relationship of self-giving and accepting love in return. The state of your heart is a reflection of your relationship with God and neighbour through God. Nobody who says I love God but hates his neighbour can truly be loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Such a love is a mask of falsehood. 

There’s a reason why Jesus has a hierarchy for the two commandments. Firstly, love God and then love thy neighbour. It isn’t love thy neighbour and then love God. We are often told by secular society you just need to be good and serve people to the best of your ability and God will surely reward you for your good deeds. For some the reward could be more earthly material comforts, ease from sufferings or for some it may be heavenly investments to be redeemed in the after-life. The problem with such a mindset is that it limits good deeds to a transaction of giving to get something in return. Truth be told human love is imperfect, it is conditional. Any thought or action exclusively conceived in man no matter how well intentioned it may be; is driven to satisfy his ego i.e. we do things to seek approval from people.

On the other hand the Love of God is pure and unconditional. It is up to man to receive or reject the love of God given to us in the form of grace. It is when we open our hearts to the love of God, we are open to transformation, guided by the spirit our thoughts and actions are manifested in loving our neighbour (society) with pure goodness becoming a force multiplier. Therefore, fix your heart on God, He will mould your heart – a challenging process that requires us to be clay rather than stone which will require even more heavy chiselling. It is the heart transformed by God’s love that will truly be able to share God’s love in society.

By the way Jesus doesn’t throw away the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments can be categorized into two sections – The first three refer to revering and respecting the relationship with God and the remaining seven refer to our relationship with the people we interact with. Therefore, Jesus wants us to reorient the human attitude from being scrupulous about following the commandments letter by letter to delve more deeply into the heart of the matter – Love of God with all your heart, mind, soul and …