[Excerpted from the scripture reflection prepared for the September/October 2017 issue of Emmanuel by Brother John Barker, OFM, of Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois.] Throughout the last several weeks, we have been exploring through the readings the theme of thinking and acting like God, allowing our minds to be transformed so that we conform ourselves not to this age but to the mind and heart of God. Broadly speaking, this means learning to love our neighbor, not just as much as we love ourselves, but as much as God loves our neighbor.
This week’s readings bring us explicitly back to this theme by having Jesus remind us that we are called to place at the center of our lives our relationship with God. To “love” God “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” is to give absolutely every part of ourselves and our lives over to God and God’s will. Our dedication to our relationship with God must be total, not marked merely by external, half-hearted, or sporadic devotion.
This is the work of a lifetime, of course, and one that cannot be done without God’s grace, which the Bible consistently reminds us is readily available if we will only accept it.