Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica
“To love others we must first understand that we are loved by God.”
Good News Reflection for:
Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent
Memorial of Saint Patrick, Bishop
March 17, 2023
Heavenly Father, draw me closer to You and fill me with true love for You. Help me to share this love boldly and freely. Amen.
Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Entering more deeply into real love
Can you imagine sitting down next to Jesus and getting into a discussion with him about love? Put yourself into the sandals of the scribe in today’s Gospel passage. One of the main activities of scribes and Pharisees was participating in lively discussion groups. They spent hours analyzing and debating every nuance of the scriptures. This particular scribe is trying to engage a traveling rabbi (teacher) in just such a discussion.
He starts with the topic of commandments, but when Jesus advances it to the topic of love, the man is insightful enough to go along with him and take it a step further. For this, he receives praise from Jesus.
How do you see these two most important commandments? Do you really understand this kind of love? Very often when we fail to love, it’s because we misunderstood what it really means to love. We’ve learned from counterfeits.
Instead of unconditional love, the world gives us conditional love (“I’ll only be happy with you if you get a perfect score on your test, and I will disapprove of you if you don’t”).
In place of safe love, the world gives us abuse covered with words like “I didn’t mean to do that; I love you, but you made me angry.”
In place of generous love, the world gives us lust (pleasure seeking that disregards the ways of God for the sake of self-gratification).
How can we understand true love when we look for it in these counterfeits? We fail to love God with all our souls, minds, and strength when we expect him to be like those who’ve treated us conditionally or abusively or lustfully.
When we are shaped by counterfeits, we put conditions on our love for God (“if you answer this prayer, I’ll go to Mass”). It’s impossible to love others like God does when we don’t understand how unconditional love really works.
To love others we must first understand that we are loved by God. As long as we’re not totally convinced that God loves us all the time, we don’t trust him to take good care of us if we go the extra mile for those who make our lives difficult. In that mindset, we take care of ourselves, catering to our own desires rather than doing good deeds of love for those who interfere with our plans and goals. We put conditions on our love (“be nice to me or I won’t be nice to you”).
To grow in faith, examine your life and figure out where “love” is really only a counterfeit of love, then differentiate this from God’s love.
Meditate on God loving you with his whole heart, his whole mind, and his whole strength. Use this image of perfect love to replace your faulty interpretation of love that was caused by counterfeits, and enter into a life that’s fully based on the two greatest commandments.
To reflect further about this, go to our video: “With God’s Whole Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength” @ https://gnm-media.org/gods-whole-heart-soul-mind-strength/
© 2023 by Terry A. Modica
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