“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

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“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Jesus Our Lord had given us two commands of LOVE to follow.  The first and greatest command is to love God completely and above all else and with one’s entire being – with all your heart, soul and mind.   The Lord tells us and the lawyer who put the Lord to the test that the second command of Love is liken to the first:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  The Lord then goes on to explain that upon these two commands of Love all the law and the prophets depend.

The keeping of the Ten Commandments are included in these two commands of Love.  The first three commandments are ways we are to express our love for God.  The other seven are ways we express a love for our neighbor as ourselves. Our love for God must come first in our daily lives.  A love for God involves the “total person” – heart, soul and mind.  Our priorities as Christians are right when we do this.

The second command to love one’s neighbor is not just one’s countrymen but rather is all-inclusive.  We as Christians are called to love even those who dislike or hate us.    We are called to pray for those who cause our harm or injury or may even persecute us.  The command to love others is one without distinction.

The two commands of love are linked together.  They are interrelated.  In the first epistle of John, chapter four we read: “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

God is LOVE – absolute and pure.  He created us out of love in His own image and likeness.  God out of love for us, sinful mankind, sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world to save us from sin and gave us an example of what it is to be truly human.  Jesus is the Second Divine Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.  He has two natures: divine and human.  Jesus Christ was liken unto us in all things, except for sin.  He Himself was tempted by the devil, but withstood the temptations.  Jesus said “No” to the devil and did not sin.

He remained at all times obedient to the Will of His Heavenly Father.  In the Epistle to the Philippians, we read: “Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,   He humbled  Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (4:8)

The Cross is an act of self-sacrificial Love. The Totally Innocent One took upon Himself the sin of the world.  By His death and resurrection Our Lord saved us from sin and the eternal condemnation and opened wide the gates to the Heavenly Kingdom.  We are told that whosoever believes in the Only-Begotten Son of God will not perish, but will live forever – be deemed worthy of entry into Heaven, the kingdom of God.

May the Love of Christ be within us.  May the Holy Spirit, a spirit of Love and Truth,  guide and protect us from all evil. May we share this love of Christ with all those we encounter, especially our brothers and sisters  in Christ in their hour of need.  In so doing, we shall give praise to God and continue Christ’s mission of saving souls.

Rev. D. George Worschak

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