LOVE GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE BEING A Sunday Gospel Reflection for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time By Fr. Sergio Santos, OFM

God has a Divine Plan from the very beginning of time. The Divine Plan of God is like a “tele-drama”. In the “tele-drama”, God, the Father, our Creator is the Producer, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Savior, is the Director, the Holy Spirit, the Love that binds God, the Father and Jesus Christ, is the Scriptwriter, The Actors were the Old Testament and New Testament people, and now in this digital generation, the actors are us, Christians.

The Old Testament and New Testament actors had 613 precepts, rules or commandments, including the Ten Commandments to act out. The first three of the Ten Commandments pertain to the love of God and the last seven commandments pertain to love of neighbor. With the coming of Jesus Christ, these were simplified when the Pharisees in the Gospel today asked Jesus Christ as to the greatest commandment. The answer was “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it”. This clear-cut answer was not only for the Pharisees but an answer and a rule of life for all of us for all time.

What Jesus Christ is saying is that the love of God and neighbor fulfills all of a person’s obligations and carries out all the duties that God’s self-revelation in “the law and the prophets” requires. God in the Old Testament is revealed as our Creator and Divine Benefactor. Out of God’s infinite goodness, God is sharing with humanity the eternal kingdom of bliss; this is the reason why we were created. That is why out of God’s love for humanity, God became flesh and blood in the personhood of the Son Jesus Christ through the Incarnation. In 1 John 4:9-11, it states: “God’s love was revealed in our midst in this way: He sent his only Son to the world so that we might have life through him. Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and sent His Son as an offering for sins. Beloved, if God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another”. Through the Incarnation, we have been raised to the status of children of God.

What exactly is this love of God? This means our whole being is directed towards God. All that we say, and do is leading us towards God and none other. And this means also we are open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who will teach us and sustain us with resources to fulfil this commitment of love. Thomas Merton said that if one is committed to God, resources are provided. “God provides”. This, I have personally experienced in my life as a Franciscan religious. Divine Providence is around us.

And what is this loving your neighbor as yourself about? The measure of that love of neighbor is the love one bears toward oneself. The law of fraternal charity, the obligation to love a neighbor, was ordered by God on the Israelites from their very beginning as the chosen people.

Recall that this commandment is like the first. Love of neighbor is a very important obligation toward God. It is a sacred duty. And if we fail to love our neighbor, we also fail in our love for God.

Can we ask ourselves today how seriously we take this law of fraternal charity? Whatever spiritual, psychological, or material help given out of true charity to a neighbour in need, is given to God, and whatever is given to God will be rewarded a hundredfold, including one’s name written in the Book of Life.

About Fr. Serge and his other reflections.