Gospel: Mk 12:28-34
A teacher of the law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.” The teacher of the law said to him, “Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one, and there is no other besides him. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.” Jesus approved this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
We are so used to quoting this phrase that we don’t realize how significant it is. It is saying that the gauge of our loving others is loving ourselves. Sometimes we are taught the wrong idea that we should not love ourselves — that doing so is selfishness. But that is not true. We cannot truly love others if we do not love ourselves. What does this mean?. It means first of all that we acknowledge that all of what we are is from God — gift of God. So the first act of loving ourselves is appreciating ourselves and thanking God that of
all possible beings, we are the ones chosen to emerge from nothingness into being. Then we look at ourselves — our body — the most amazing and most spectacular mechanism on earth — our circulatory
system, our digestive system, how our brain works, the coordination of our muscles, bones, limbs — amazing! — .Loving ourselves means taking care of ourselves, giving ourselves good nourishment, avoiding harmful foods, drinks, habits, etc. It means maintaining good mental health, getting enough rest, avoiding addictions, forming good physical and mental habits, etc. It also means accepting ourselves for what we are — our gifts and our weaknesses. We are able to forgive ourselves and begin anew. And this is our way also of loving others — being caring and compassionate, being understanding and forgiving, being nurturing and considerate. I LOVE MYSELF. I LOVE YOU AS I LOVE MYSELF.
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