Daily Reflection
March 24th, 2006

Michele Millard

Cardoner at Creighton
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17
Mark 12:28-34

We major on the minors. We focus on all of the unimportant things in life while ignoring the most important things. The Pharisees were like this. In trying to flesh out the law, they came up with thousands of insignificant ways to keep the law----like not eating eggs laid on the Sabbath because of the work that chickens had to do to lay them. They eventually came up with 1,521 things that were not permissible on the Sabbath. They got caught up in trying to not infringe on any part of the law and in effect, became enslaved by that law. All their energy, all their passion and all of their heart was focused on not screwing up.

When Jesus was asked which law was the most important, he gave a wise answer (no surprise) which would lead to ultimate freedom in our lives. He rolled all the intent of the law into two major commandments which focused not on rules (minors), but on relationships (majors):

1. The first and most important commandment, according to Jesus, is to love God with your whole being. Loving God wholly is not giving a piece of attention here and there. Loving God wholly is not deciding to spend time with Him just when you have problems and are desperate for help. Loving God wholly is not begrudgingly sharing your gifts. Loving God wholly is so much more---it is focusing all of your passion, your intelligence and your attention on your relationship with Him. It is a total immersion into the love of God and beginning to see yourself as a child of God---an extension of who He is because of our relationship with Him. This first commandment provides a foundation for the second.

2. The second commandment encompasses the intent of all other commandments. If I am to love my neighbor as myself, then I better start by loving myself. It involves loving ourselves and then by extension, loving our neighbors. We don’t steal, we don’t lie, we don’t covet. . . . not just because they are wrong, but because they would diminish our relationship with our Creator, decrease who we are and would be hurting those around us. Because we are in relationship with God, we can begin to see ourselves as a unique and loved creation—a reflection of the one who created us. Then in turn, we begin to see our neighbors in the same way----unique children of God who deserve our care and respect. Even those “neighbors” who disappoint us, who hurt us and who we might consider enemies deserve our care and respect because of who we are and who they are----reflections of the Creator.

The scribe who had asked Jesus the question was very impressed with the answer—he got it! When Jesus saw he indeed “got it”, he commented to him that he was very close to the kingdom of God. He was right there, on the edge of understanding and experiencing everything that was promised through the living out of those two commandments. Jesus saw this man giving up the minors and majoring on the majors. So. . . . are we getting it? Ask yourself:

How am I loving God? Am I offering bits and pieces of my life? What would it take to love Him with all my passion and intelligence and attention? How would my life be different if I immersed myself in God’s love?

How do I feel about myself? Do I feel like a valued child of God? Why is it important for me to love myself before I love my neighbor?

How am I loving my neighbors? Do I pick and choose those I show love? How does it make a difference to see my “neighbor” as a child of God? How can I love my neighbor who is indeed difficult to love?

How am I majoring in the minors? How can I refocus my life to spend my energies on that which is really important----my relationship with God and with my neighbors?

We could be very close to the kingdom of God if we just start to “get it”.

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