The Great Commandment is at the heart of today’s readings. We hear it in Deuteronomy and then quoted by Jesus in Mark’s gospel. This declaration of God’s unity and call to love God with all our being and to love our neighbor as ourself is still central in Jewish worship today. It is called the “Shema”—Hebrew for “Hear!”—because God has a message for us that will make the difference between life and death.
The scribe who queried Jesus about the greatest commandment agrees with Jesus: to love God and our neighbor whole-heartedly is the path to life in God’s kingdom. But how can we love this way? Most of us are so busy, so distracted, with so much coming at us. How do we even choose our priorities?
Many holy women and men have recommended “falling in love with God.” “Nothing is more practical,” said Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the late Superior General of the Jesuits. Why practical? Because when we are in love, we know our priorities—we know each day how we will devote our time and talents. And when we are in love we find time to nourish our relationship. Fr. Pedro said, “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Let us sincerely seek the quiet we need to hear God’s love for us, opening ourselves to love God passionately. All else will follow.