Saint Peter the Apostle Inglewood
Mark Twain said: “it is not what I don’t understand about the Bible that bothers me, but what I do understand”.
This is so true if we can apply today’s reading in our own life; the greatest commandment is to love our God with all our heart, all our soul and our entire mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We can answer that we understand everything from this passage but to live this passage is not so easy, it is difficult to practice it in real life.
Love more than feelings and emotions is a decision. For example – you choose to love your husband or your wife, your children, your parents each and every day; you know that some days are easier than others, but it is your decision.
In today’s Gospel Jesus goes a little further than this decision to love others. He tells us this decision starts with loving ourselves first. It is hard to genuinely love ourselves for whom we really are, and not for whom we would like to be.
Today if we are honest with ourselves and we look in the mirror and see how we are getting old, with our graying hair and new wrinkles marking our face with wear and tear; we see how we cannot move or do things as we used to. Maybe we just would like to look different, to have a different face or body. It is very hard to accept what we see. Jesus tells us exactly that we need not only to accept but to love ourselves just the way we are with all our imperfections and inadequacies, as well as all our gifts and talents.
We cannot genuinely love others if we cannot love ourselves. Instead, we will love them in some self-giving way, in order that they love us back or give us the love we cannot give ourselves. For me I think Jesus invites us to start loving ourselves authentically.
My message is an invitation to hear God’s commandment and make the decision to love ourselves with all our imperfections and then to choose Christ and choose love and understand that love ourselves and love others is the beginning to love God.