'To love God and love your neighbor' – this is one of the most attractive of the sayings of Jesus. It is an encouragement to live fully, with what brings the greatest joy in life – true love of God and the neighbor. It is at the heart of good religion, and what attracts many to Jesus. Jesus' life was to propose good religion and to live by it.
We admire those who give energy in love and service. We are proud of people we know whose lives make a great and good difference to others. We know that our family and neighborhood, parish and school, workplace and leisure time have been enriched by the self-sacrificing love of many people, young and old. He gave all he got – we say that at the end of a match of a good player. May we give all we have in our lives, giving in love, knowing that all we give, is itself a gift from God, the giver of all good gifts. Christ affirms the truth of the prophets: to love God and neighbor.
Scripture, as the inspired word of God, further reveals this truth in written form. What remains for us is to be enlightened by this truth. Do not be surprised when your interior life, actions, the Word, Eucharist and praying, further reveals and multiplies the desire to love God and neighbor.
In St. John of the Cross's words: "Even in our time, God…grants manifestations or declaration of already revealed mysteries." The greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbor. It is the very core of the Gospel. It is the distilled essence of Jesus' teaching, AND, it's the words behind the actions of Jesus' passion. His life, death, and resurrection were the physical manifestation of the love that he taught. The Church spends a lot of time on a lot of things. We have programs and initiatives, we have theological arguments and conversations, we build buildings and we seek to expand our reach. But, we cannot forget the core, the foundation of love. We are redeemed by love, and we are to be known for our love of others. Love for those near us, and those far; those like us, and those alien to us; those who we like, and those who we have a hard time stomaching; those who are nice to us, and those who have injured us greatly; those who think like us, vote like us, pray like us, and those who work for the very opposite thing we love. We encourage love. We are to build people and communities and cultures on love.