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THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Monday, 27th Week of the Year, October 07, 2013
Jon. 1:1-2:1, 11, Jon. 2, Luke 10:25-37


"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27).


These are the two great commandments of Jesus, loving God with all our heart and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. He was then asked, "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29). He answers by speaking about the good Samaritan, explaining that our neighbor is anyone who needs our help, even if he is not of our nation or religion.


To love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind is a very great thing. It involves a completely new way of living in this world. God saves us in Jesus Christ, forgiving our sins through our faith in his death on the cross, where he paid our debt of suffering in punishment for our sins, justly freeing us from them and from our sense of guilt, making us new men and a new creation. Henceforth we are to live for him who died and rose for us (2 Cor. 5:15). We now wish to find all our delight in him, and so we live a simple life, renouncing a worldly lifestyle, losing our life in this world for love of God, to find it truly in him (Mark 8:35).


Then what are we supposed to do with our time? We are to serve our neighbor. This is how we love him, as the good Samaritan served the man who was left half dead by thieves. We can serve our neighbor in our work and by our friendly conversation with him. We can also serve and love him by giving him the witness of our way of living only for the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. We can give him the example of a life that seeks all its delight in the Lord. This witness alone can greatly help our neighbor. It shows him how he also should live. Seeing that there are people actually trying to live this way will encourage many to try to follow the first commandment more seriously themselves. We can also serve and love our neighbor with our word, explaining to him how a person should live in accord with God's will.


Every job offers unique opportunities and ways of loving and serving our neighbor. A nurse serves the sick, a teacher serves his students, a priest writes and preaches sermons to illuminate the mind and inspire the heart of those who hear him. He preaches to them the good news of our salvation and new life in Jesus Christ through our faith in him, and he forgives sins in the sacrament of reconciliation (John 20:22-23), where he applies to his neighbor the merits of the death of Christ on the cross, through which God forgives all sin.


All are called to love God and neighbor in ever deeper ways and thus grow in holiness.

 

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