Dear Believers in the Christ,
Reading Mark 12:25B-34 today reminds me of Tina Turner. “What’s love got to do with it?” This question must have come from one of the scribes and those whose life were given to keeping the law. There is such a leap from being a strict rule keeper to a new awareness of love. What does love really have to do with anything about Jesus’ presence, especially his death and resurrection?
Jesus reminds the people of his day that his action of self-giving is a new form of commandment. Our hearts, minds, souls must be centered on this action of Jesus. Jesus is the relationship that brings us peace, forgiveness and mercy. There is no other relationship that will bring us such life and mercy here on earth as well as our eternal reward. We follow a relationship, not a law.
Jesus also tells us that we are to live that love in the world. Love has to do with God and with people. Love is the ointment that heals our harsh words. Love sands off the rough edges of our actions that destroy other people’s reputations. Love is the center in which we bring our hardened hearts and controlling actions.
Love still is a mystery in our day. I don’t mean infatuation or romantic love. I mean the love out of which God created us. We find it so much easier to find our thoughts and actions in a negative herd mentality. We pick up our torches with others who prefer to destroy others than to offer reconciliation. On some days, it is easier to join voices of despair and revenge than it is to hear the subtle voice of hope and love from God. On other days the words of put-downs and slander become like barbed wire resting on our lips. Those words are never formed from love. On many days, it is easier to live in our protected egos, than to offer our lives to God’s love.
Today’s gospel reveals the center of faith and action. This gospel is the glue that binds love from our hearts to those most in need. This love is not flimsy or whimsical. This love is brought into the world by grace itself. This love is the key to our vocations, the way we live out our baptism and our profession of faith. This is the foundation of our lives and the Christian community. Love also costs us plenty. It demands of us a new heart and a new view of the world.
When it comes to God’s love, there are two important things. First, Jesus invites us to be loved by God. You read it correctly. I did not say that we are to love God. We are to learn to be loved by God. This is a real kicker. This takes a lifetime. This costs us our very lives of self-protection and self-sufficiency. Then we are to love others in the same way. This is what love has to do with it.