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Friends, our Gospel features what the ancient Israelites referred to as the shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is Lord alone.” Could I invite everyone to make an examination of conscience on the basis of the shema? Is God the one Lord of your life? Who or what are his rivals for your attention, for your ultimate concern? Or, to turn the question around: Does absolutely everything in your life belong to God?

But people might ask: How do we give ourselves to a reality that we cannot see? This is where the second command of Jesus comes into play. When asked which is the first of all the commandments, Jesus responded with the shema, but then he added a second command—namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

There is a strict logic at work here. When you really love someone, you tend to love, as well, what they love. Well, what does God love? He loves everything and everyone that he has made. So, if you want to love God, and you find this move difficult because God seems so distant, love everyone you come across for the sake of God.