August 20, 2021 - With All Your Heart - A Reflection on Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Let me begin this reflection by asking you a question: if the greatest commandments are loving God with our entire being and loving our neighbor as ourselves, then what is the greatest sin? Obviously, not loving God with our entire being ,and not loving our neighbor as ourselves. So here’s another question: do you keep these commandments? Let’s forget about the second one for today; let’s just focus on the first. Do you love God with all your being?

This is not a trick question. I am trying to make a point, especially to those of us who might believe we are holy. If we want to gauge the level of our spirituality, let us use this commandment as the barometer. And let us remember the keyword is ALL. We need to love God will ALL our heart, with ALL our soul, and with ALL our mind. In Luke’s gospel he adds strength too: with ALL our strength (see Luke 10:27). 

Is this possible? you might ask. Would God ask us to do something that isn’t? How, then? I have often found that looking at something that baffles us from a different viewpoint helps, so let us shift perspective. Have you ever been in love? Please say you have! Okay, have you told this person that you love them with all your heart. What does this declaration mean?

It means that you truly love that person and would do anything to make that person happy. (Well, at least we mean this at the time we say it). Now, this doesn’t exclude other relationships—I can continue to love my parents, my siblings, even my friends. However, the person who overrides everything else is this special man or woman I am declaring these things to. 

Now, follow the same logic with God. When you love him with all your heart, he becomes the center of everything for you. He is all you think about; he is all you care about; he is all you want; he is all you need. And when you feel so deeply about him, you would do just about anything for him. Right? But, you now say, how do you love him with everything you have? Ahh, for that you have to know him? Read his word and spend time with him in prayer. 

May we love him with everything we have.