“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

I am back, refreshed from a week’s vacation with my family.  It would have been the perfect vacation but due to my oldest son’s new job, he wasn’t able to make it.  Had he been there, it would have been the perfect vacation.

During my vacation last week, I unplugged from all external news sources.  I turned off my cell phone for the most part, didn’t watch much TV (except for the Golf Channel), no twitter, no LinkedIn, not much of anything but family, fun and food.

Now that I’m back, I am trying to get back into my regular routine, so I’m here posting more thoughts on the daily readings of the Mass.  Two very challenging Gospel’s between yesterday and today for us to think about.

The opening quote was taken from yesterday’s Gospel.  It sounds easy enough but I find it to be very challenging.  I am to love the Lord with ALL my heart, ALL my being, ALL my strength and ALL my mind.  That would be challenging enough if Jesus would have stopped His comments there, but He requires even more.  I am to love my neighbor in the same manner.  Jesus is asking me to leave prejudices behind, leave resentments, leave anything that would put a condition on the love I should show my God and my neighbor.  Take some time to think about that today.  God’s purpose can be  summed up in these three simple words…God is love.  If I am to love God with all my heart, being, strength and mind, then my purpose too can be summed up in three words…I am love.  So if I am love, then I must challenge myself to find love, to give love, to be love in all that I do and say.  Can I do this?  Yes.  Will I do this is a harder question to answer.  I spent a lot of years focusing on myself and what’s best for me and best for my family.  I have always tried to keep God at the center of this, but I know in my heart I’ve fallen short at times.  Today’s Gospel parallels these thoughts I’m having.  By placing God at the center of all that I do, am I willing to put the love of my family at risk?

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

There is a lot to contemplate here.  Please take the time to think about all that we are being told in these Gospels.

Do something great for our Lord today – be love.  Give yourself to Him who is love.  Love Him with all your heart, all your being, all your mind and all your strength.  And do the same for your neighbor.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have strength.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

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