Friday of the Third Week of Lent
(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)
People today often ask, “Who is the greatest?” or, “What is most important?” They believe that if they walk in the footsteps of the greatest person who ever lived or seek what is most important in life, they will not end up disillusioned. The gospel shows that people of antiquity asked the same kind of questions.
The man asks Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” It is sometimes said that the first commandments for Jews is to “be fruitful and multiply.” But Jesus does not concern himself with clever answers here. He goes right to the heart of the matter. The first commandment, he says in, “’You shall love the Lord your God.’” And the second greatest commandment is to “’love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Many of us have difficulty loving God. Some even say that to love our neighbor is to love God. Although the two commandments may sound much alike, there is a critical difference. God is the greatest good – the creator and sustainer of all things. In faith we know that He exists as the One who loves us despite our many faults. Because He tells us to love our neighbor, we make the effort to do so. Even though our neighbors may hurt us, we love them by wanting what is best for them.