FRIDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Hos 14:2-10 Hosea pleads to the people to return to the Lord, who will heal their wounds and recreate them as new beings.
Gospel: Mk 12:28-34 When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus simply repeats what every Jew knows: It is total love for God and love of neighbor as oneself.
LEARNING TO LOVE GOD AND NEIGHBOUR
Today’s readings remind us that God is not someone to be kept far away, to be admired and wondered at from a distance, but someone to be loved and appreciated like any other person. We know that the love of God and neighbour is the foundation of all the commandments and the greatest of them; yet, we are also well aware of how hard it is to live this commandment.
Coming to Church and listening to a sermon isn’t that demanding; in fact, it can be a refreshing experience. But, what about our lives after that? Revival and renewal can come only when we acknowledge our need for God. Therefore, when we make an effort to depend on God rather than our own resources and capacities, renewal is bound to happen, because this effort gives way to repentance, and consequently, transformation.
Loving one’s neighbour does not just mean not hating or hurting another; it is much more than that. It means that even if the other hurts us, offends us, humiliates us, we love him/her, relate with him/her, pray for him/her. If we can embrace the attitude: “As I have likes and dislikes, so does the other; as I have expectations, so does the other; as I struggle with weaknesses and imperfections, so does the other”, then our hearts will be open to understand and love the other, because we will look forward to the same.
Perhaps at times, we have to rise above our negative judgements, steel ourselves against very strong feelings, and even force ourselves to accept the other, to smile at the other, to love the other. However, if our goal is clear – to be faithful to the Lord, then with the help of grace, we shall eventually find ourselves overcoming selfishness and loving genuinely. Can we make up our minds during this Lent, to bring a change in our lives, as followers of him who loves us so much in spite of our regular failures and repeated falls?
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 81:6-11,14,17 I am the Lord your God, listen to my voice
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