9th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 4th June 2020 — Gospel: Mk 12,28-34
Jesus responds to the scribe by combining Deut 6,4-5 and Lev 19,18. He links theological truth to practical and ethical demands. It is impossible to love God and hate those made in His image (1 Jn 2,9-11; 3,15; 4,20). It is impossible to love your neighbour as yourself if you do not love yourself. There is a need for an appropriate self-love which is based on God’s priority love for humankind. This means that there is a healthy way to love ourselves, and that serves as model for how we should love our neighbours. There is also an unhealthy kind of self-love. It is named as selfishness, which we find in the form of self-awareness, self-actualization, self-esteem, and self-absorption. We need, naturally, a sense of our own value as children of God fashioned in His image (Gen 1,26-27). We must rejoice in our giftedness and accept our physical, mental, and psychological makeup (Ps 139). To criticize ourselves is to criticize our Maker! But, He can transform our fallenness into a reflection of His glory. However, the emphasis of this statement is not on self-love or self-respect. The Lord did not invite us to follow the “me-first philosophy”. In self-love, we do not comprehend God’s grace; but we feel good about ourselves or meet our own needs. We put ourselves at the center rather than God. Instead, the Lord emphasizes that love is less a feeling and more a decision to act for the good of the other-and-community. It is learning to see ourselves and others through God’s eyes. Paul used this analogy of Jesus with different wordings (Eph 5,28-29).