Fr. Kurian KollapallilJesus was a crowd puller, so the Jews challenged Jesus at various stages. They tested Jesus’s approach towards paying taxes or not paying taxes and about keeping the Commandments. Therefore a scholar of the law asked Jesus: “Teacher which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus often answered people’s questions with one of his own but in this case he gives a direct answer. He said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind and strength. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ”

The solid foundation for any human being is to obey the greatest commandment and then his or her life will be a journey into wholeness. The first commandment requires to put God in the first place then three necessary consequences in life follows; namely the love for neighbor, for oneself and the law and the prophets. Love God as if you love a person. God is personal, ever close and we are to be personally involved with God on a face-to face basis. Loving God is an act that is alive and active. Practical love takes various visible expressions, if not it becomes empty and abstract. Love acts by showing and demonstrating itself. So also, loving God becomes alive when we love our neighbor.

Most people think love as a feeling but love is much deeper than a feeling. Love is a commitment that we make to a person to always treat that person right and honorably. Are you a successful lover? Do you find many drawbacks in your love relationship? Many flows and disappointments trouble you? Then you must examine the basis of your love. Only the one who loves God above everything can love others well. God sees our relationship with Him much like a marriage relationship (Hosea 2:16, Jeremiah3:14). Faithfulness and sincere love builds up a strong marital relationship. We his Church are called the bride, and He is calling us into relationship with Him. Have you allowed other gods into your life? Where do you set your affections? When our hearts, soul, mind and strength are focused upon something, like job, possessions, wealth, power, name, fame or a person, our love diminishes for God and others. A personal relationship can be maintained and sustained only through communication: so we must talk to God and allow God to talk to us through prayer, through His Spirit and through His word. The great commandment to Love God flows downward into another great commandment -to love our neighbor as ourselves. When the lawyers asked Jesus the question “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) Jesus said the parable of the Good Samaritan. People of all kind and race without any barriers and discrimination are our neighbors.

A pastor offered welcome in his column like this: “We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, rich, poor, y no habla Ingles. Those who are crying, newborns, skinny as a rail, or those who could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like grand knight who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just browsing,’ just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you are more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, or you’re down in the dumps, or you don’t like ‘organized religion,’ we’ve been there too. If you blew all your offering money at the casino, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or came because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome the flexible, inflexible, tolerant, and intolerant, those who laughed and those who gasped at this welcome. Welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts… and most especially, we welcome YOU!”

“Our spiritual lives are what love’s activity makes them.” St. Francis De sales