Reflection by Jennifer Durney
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
Love. Boil down this Gospel passage to one word and you get “love”. Paraphrase the Gospel of Matthew and you get “love”. Try to explain the entire Bible or the story of Jesus and you get “love”. Love is the greatest common denominator of our faith and still the hardest concept in our lives.
Jesus tries to break it down into bite-sized pieces for us: love God and love other people. Sitting alone in my living room and reading this passage while the rest of my household is asleep makes it seem pretty easy. Love you, God! Love you, family! And I really love this coffee! I’m so good at love!
Eventually, though, my family will wake up. And, on this particular day, my two-year-old will find a pair of scissors at her babysitter’s house and cut off most of her hair. My two-month-old will fight napping like it is her tiny, adorable job. And I will disappoint or annoy my husband in one way or another. Responding in a loving way to awake people who mess up or hurt you or fall short of expectations turns out to be a lot harder than loving blissfully sleeping children.
But Jesus doesn’t ask for perfection, He asks for our hearts. Our sometimes broken, always-short-of-being-perfectly-loving hearts.
And, if you notice, He asks for our hearts before our brains. This is the part where I fail most. I overthink before I love. I evaluate before I love. I filter before I love. And, sometimes, I forget to love all together while I’m caught up in all the other stuff.
But every day Jesus wants us to simply love and let that be our mission. This is the greatest commandment and the one we will spend the rest of our lives trying to perfect.
There are many ways to love. Make a list of the most important people in your world today and, for each one, ask yourself “How can I best love this person?” Keep this list handy for the days when loving is tough.
Jesus, thank You for loving me more than I will ever be able to comprehend or experience on earth. Help me today to love with Your heart the people in my path, especially those whom I find most difficult to love.
Copyright 2019 Jennifer Durney
Jennifer Durney ministers to the young church of the Diocese of Erie in a variety of roles, all of which try her patience and stretch her heart in the best ways possible. She is blessed to share her passions and her life with her husband, Matt, and is in love with being Momma to their beautiful daughters, Vivianne and Gianna.
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