Oct 232014

by Fr. Andrew Kelly
In Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40) Jesus teaches: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Dorothy Day bluntly interpreted Jesus’ teaching: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”
No less bluntly the author of 1 John 4:20 wrote: “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
If these two writers’ scorching interpretations are correct, then individual believers and entire communities have to answer fundamental questions and make difficult decisions that reflect Jesus’ commandments.
The questions are: Do our decisions emphasize and enhance loving God in and through neighbors? Or distract and diminish loving God in and through neighbors? After all Jesus did teach: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Christian faithfulness “hangs” on Christian decisions.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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