A good friend wrote to me late last night to tell me that her 93-year-old Mom suffered a stroke on St Patrick’s Day. and that she is now in hospice care at home.
In speaking of her Mom, she said, “Her heart is strong – full of love, gratitude, generosity and faith.” My friend’s mom always had her priorities straight. She loved well. She loved her God, her family and an ever-wider circle of friends, neighbors and even strangers who entered her life. She saw people as very much inter-connected and dependent on one another.
Today’s Gospel reminds all of us to keep our priorities in order. Amid the 613 commandments in the Torah, also known as the law of Moses, Jesus told the scribe, who asked which was the first of all the commandments,
“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.”
Today, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there are many rules, regulations, and guidelines, designed to keep us safe and healthy, and all of us need to take them seriously. In such tough times, it can be easy to give into our fears, lose sight of our priorities, become confused and even be tempted to just take care of ourselves. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that it is love, in all times and places, that should remain our number one priority. Let us pray that our friends and family will always recognize in us, that our hearts “are strong – full of love, gratitude, generosity, and faith.