Gospel Meditation

“If you love me you will keep my commandments.” It’s really as simple as that. We are only paying lip service to the Lord if we externally declare ourselves to be Christians but don’t follow through on a life that confirms it.

In our modern culture, we often think of love as a feeling or a kind of devotion. It is thus all too common to separate love from appropriate action. Perhaps we reassure ourselves that we love Jesus because we believe that he is the Son of God and our personal Savior. But these thoughts—or even any grateful or pleasant feelings that come along with them—are not the fullest manifestation of real love. Rather, as Jesus tells us directly in today’s Gospel, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”

Now, for those of us who may be asking what exactly these commandments are, it’s helpful to remember Jesus’ response when he was questioned on the subject. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37-39). These fundamental principles embrace everything that Jesus calls us to do. If we put God first and foremost in our lives, and if we treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated, then all the rest falls into place. The Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and any other fundamental Christian codes of behavior are all summed up here. Indeed, if we truly seek to love Jesus, putting him first and following his ways won’t feel like a burden but rather like a beautiful blessing.© Liturgical Publications Inc