Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When speaking about the qualities of a disciple, Jesus said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). What he was essentially saying was that we had to put him first. If there was any doubt that this is what he meant, today's passage should clear it. He says we must love him with all our heart, soul, and mind. Gospel writer Mark also includes' strength' (see Mark 12:28-31).
People often tell me they find this difficult because they can't "see" Jesus. "I can see father and mother and brother and sister and sweetheart and friend," they say, "so it is easy to get into a relationship with them, but how does one get into a relationship with Jesus? I can’t see him!" Ok, I understand the problem, so let me see if I can offer a solution to all of you who might be struggling with a similar problem. It's a simple enough solution, really, and one that can be quickly adopted.
Have you ever fallen in love? If you are not a child, I am presuming you have. Do you remember what that was like? You constantly thought of them even if you met the person only once. And what did you think about? Didn't you think about being with the person: at a coffee shop, or a cinema, or in your kitchen? Couldn't you visualize everything clearly? Then, didn't you mentally engage in conversations with the person? They were long conversations, weren't they? Now, if you can do this with a person you may have just met, why can't you do this with Jesus? The conversations can be about anything. You can talk to him about your worries, your troubles, whatever.
I also have people telling me they can't hear his voice. Well, that might be because you're the one doing all the talking, but seriously, if you spend long enough time with Jesus, you WILL hear him speak. But until then, there is another excellent way of listening to what he has to say, and that's through the Bible. And you might hear him saying a lot of stuff you don't understand, but be like the apostles. Tell him to explain what he means. For instance, you could ask him what he meant about hating his mother, father, and everybody else!
The more we get to know Jesus, the more we love him. And the more we love him, the more we want to know him. And the two keep feeding each other until we get to the point where we feel we love him with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul. And then service follows almost naturally from this love. When you love somebody so much, what is more natural than wanting to do things to make them happy? And this is the key to discipleship, really. Love.
It makes everything a joy.
May the Spirit be with you.