Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Timothy 2:8-15; Mark 12:28-34)
There is a story about a holy man who was journeying through a forest. As he was preparing to spend the night, a robber approached and demanded that the holy man hand over his most valuable possession. The holy man without hesitation reached into his bag to pull out a diamond as large as a grapefruit. He gave it to the robber saying, "You must mean this." The robber took the diamond and happily went his way. Not long afterwards, however, he returned to the holy man. "Now," he said, "give me the treasure that made it so easy for you to hand over that diamond."
The greater treasure that makes a person capable of letting go of all material objects is God. He provides for peoples’ material needs and gives them hope for eternal happiness. Love for God has a diffusive quality which explains the apparent conflict in Jesus' dual commandment in today's gospel. People can love God with all their heart and still love their neighbor because love for God, the source and ground of all being, includes the responsibility to care about His creation.
It is not easy to love God. As human beings dependent upon material creation, we easily forget the spiritual creator. Still devoting our time and energy to prayer, we will fulfill Jesus' first commandment and if we do that, it is no great hurdle to love our neighbors.