Imagine if we were to order our lives around this singular commandment, imagine how the world might be…imagine if we focused on truly loving God and our neighbor…if that was the singular organizing principle of our lives, of our church, of our world! Our whole world view would change…we would see migrants and immigrants not as strangers and threats, but as sisters and brothers. We would see the poor, the needy and vulnerable not as taxing on our resources, but family in need, and respond out of love. Our primary motivation no longer focuses on just ‘what I can get or do for myself’ but looks to God and to my neighbor. Suddenly the wellbeing and safety of “the other” takes on a whole new significance in my life in “the Kingdom of God”!
So my stance on issues like just war theory, euthanasia, abortion, equal access to education, just wages, affordable housing, equal access to healthcare, compassionate care of the elderly, infirmed and mentally ill and the list goes on...all these issues are viewed through the lens of this one commandment of loving God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. It would call me to learn to let go of all my biases. Imagine the social and political impact it would have in our country and around the world if all Christians or even if just a majority of Christians began to work towards building up Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God!
And of course imagine the impact it would have on the church itself, if all the priests, deacons, nuns, brothers, bishops and cardinals used this commandment as their primary lens through which they exercised every aspect of their ministry, it would be transformative! Clericalism and careerism would be replaced with servant leadership which would bring about an end to the ongoing leadership scandal in the church.
Within our country all our political discourse would radically change, poverty, racism, the marginalization of others, would all be things of the past…imagine! Jesus did...no he commanded that it be so! This is his vision of “the Kingdom of God”, and it is the challenge that Jesus places before us as his disciples…for us to put love of God and love of neighbor first!
What would my life look like if I set aside all my resentments and grudges and pettiness and chose to accept and love people just the way they are regardless of how wrong I believe them to be? What do I need to let go of in my life so that God and neighbor can be first? How do I best show my love of God? How do I best show my love of neighbor? What might I need to change in my life to make Jesus’ commandment more fully the standard by which I live?