March 13, 2015

Gospel MK 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Jesus said the first commandment is to love the Lord, your God with all your soul, mind and strength. He went on to say the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
These two passage are tied together in very much the same way as Jesus’ words, in the Lord’s prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
When I hold a grudge against another person, it builds a fence between me and God.
Regardless of how much I pray or read scripture, the anger that I hold on to stems from fear and is like a festering sore that robs me of my being able to be at peace with God.
In the gospel of 1 John 4:10, we are told, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
Recently, while on a retreat, a friend who is also a member of Alcoholic Anonymous, came up to me out of the blue and said, “Jim, may I speak to you for a minute?” I replied, “Sure, what’s up?”
He said, “I need to tell you I’ve been holding a resentment toward you and it’s been bothering me for a while. I want to say I’m sorry and I love you, Jim.”
There was no need for him to explain further. I knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.
I replied, “I understand because I’ve been feeling the tension between us. There’s no problem. I love you too, my brother.”
That was the end of the matter and we both went our separate ways feeling at peace.
My friend knew well, Jesus’ words, “Leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Matthew 5:24
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27