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Jesus is very clear this morning about the most important of the virtues. It is, of course, love. So much over the centuries has been written—in poems, stories and human interest pieces in newspapers—that we couldn’t miss the importance of love, even if we tried. The answer that Jesus gave when the scribe asked him about the greatest commandment (MK 12:28-34) always presents to me an image of an adult with a child. The adult says things like: “I love you to the moon and back!”—while hugging the child—or hugs the child so tight that the child protests saying, “Stop! I can’t breathe!” There’s also the truth that love springs from inside us, often unbidden, when we least expect it. Love is difficult to explain and more likely to be left with the words, “It’s complicated!” And so it is.

I sometimes ask myself if I truly do love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, especially when I remember that the measure of that love is reflected in how we treat our neighbor as well. What might that mean? Perhaps it’s a question of acceptance. Do I allow every person a place in my heart or is that door closed to some for one reason or another? What are my criteria for letting someone into my life? How willing do I have to be? Do they always have to be pleasing to me or can I also accept faults and failings (maybe like my own…?) We might talk the talk but when push comes to shove how do we walk the walk in the manner of God’s love for us?

So many questions…with answers deeper than words.