REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 31, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mk. 12:31
Our gospel reference today forms part of Jesus’ response to the Scribe who had asked “What is the greatest commandment of the law. Jesus did not only say the first and greatest Commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, but gave the second most important Commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is important to know that as human being we are created to love God and loving God with all our might is the greatest Commandment, because unless we do so, we cannot love your neighbor. Love of neighbor hinges on whether you love God with your whole being. Only when you love God can that love overflow into other relationships.
When we look at the love of neighbor as an effect of the overflow of our love of God, this second Commandment takes on a clearer meaning. Jesus doesn’t only say to love your neighbor, He says to do so “as yourself.” So how do you love yourself? You do so primarily by fulfilling the First Commandment of the love of God.
Loving God with your whole self is, in fact, the best way to also love yourself. This is because we are made for love and communion with God. Loving God is not some extra favor we do for God; rather, it is a way of fulfilling the deepest meaning of who we are. We are made for love, and we are made for God. Therefore, loving God is the best way to love yourself.
We are to love God, for it is in loving Him that we are brought to the perfection of His image in us. We are to love our neighbor and ourselves as well because both of us bear the image of God, and to honor God’s image is to honor Him who made it. We are to love our neighbor and ourselves because God given us neighbors to love so that we may learn to love Him.
Reflect, today, upon the ways that you act as a bridge of love between God and others. Recognize this as your absolute duty, privilege, and honor. Commit yourself to a wholehearted love of God and allow that love to overflow and be poured out upon all those with whom you encounter every day. Love is contagious, and it must consume everything you are and everything you do.
Lord, I desire to love You with my whole being. Increase my love for You and allow that love to overflow into every relationship I have in life. May love be the one and only mission of my life. Give me Lord the grace to love my neighbor selflessly, heal and open my eyes to recognize you in my neighbor and to appreciate the wonderful gift of neighbor. Jesus, I trust in You.