Friday of the Third Week of Lent
(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)
Jesus’ first commandment sounds daunting. We might ask whether we could love anyone else if we direct all our affection toward God. Even more discouraging, it may further seem that only the strictest of contemplatives can fulfill this mandate. The rest of us – priests in ministry as well as laity – will have to be judged as falling short.
But these kinds of conclusions are based on the premise that love is a material quantity with finite proportions. To the contrary, love is a spiritual entity that is multiplied by use. When we attempt to love God, we develop greater not lesser affection for God’s creation. It is true that sometimes desire for created goods conflicts with God’s will and must be rejected. But pursing the desire would actually be loving the created good more than the Creator.
In today’s reading from Hosea we hear God calling us back to him. Like dogs on an adventure we sometimes go searching for fulfillment away from our true home. In God, however, our desires are ordered so that we might enjoy everything that is truly good.