June 8, 2017
Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
REFLECTION (Sem. Dondon O. Dimaano)
Love of God can never be separated from love of neighbor. Love of God without the neighbor leads to hypocrisy while love of neighbor that is not rooted in Christ has no strong foundation and may not be lasting.
Among the many patient visits that I had during my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) exposure last May 2013, there is one most memorable for me. I was with a brother in one of our rounds and we dropped by the X-ray area. With the queue of people waiting there, there was one person who caught my attention— she was an old lady on a wheel chair waiting for her turn. The ‘lola’ had a companion.
Aside from her playing lollipop on her lips, what added to my fascination was that she kept on talking loudly and telling everyone that enters the room, looking them in their eyes and saying: “I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU.” Out of my curiosity, I approached the person assisting her and asked: What is Lola’s name and what is her condition? The lady companion answered me: She is Lola Linda; she’s 78 years old. She’s suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. She has already forgotten her age, and sometimes even her name. But she never fails to greet everyone: “I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU.” She would always tell that to people. I introduced myself to Lola Linda but she just looked at me with her rounded eyes, and told me: I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU. I smiled at Lola and told her, I LOVE YOU TOO, then I left.
After the incident, I was moved to reflect on my experience with her. I was touched that despite her condition–Alzheimer’s Disease, totally forgetting everything, but she never forgets one very important thing. And that is LOVE.
I asked myself, that maybe, if God permits me to live a long life, there will come a point that I may also forget my name, my birthday, my favorite color, and many other factual information about myself. But if there are things that I wish not to forget— that is the chance to care, to be more charitable, to be forgiving, to be compassionate, to be loving. May I always remember giving love and allow myself to experience being loved.
May I never forget to love for it is only in loving that I can fully live. May I never forget LOVE…LOVE who is Himself, GOD.