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The good news for the day August 19

Friday of the twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (423)

When religious leaders of one sort heard that Jesus had thwarted politico-religious men of another party, they got together. One of them, a scholar of the law, challenged Him: “Professor, which rule in the law is the most important?” Jesus answered: ’You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This one is the greatest and the first rule. The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22)

Rules govern you so much of what you do—traffic laws, baking recipes, what you wear, moral codes, government regulations, habits that rule you—prejudices good and bad about honor, economic standards of living, grammar and social behavior, etc. You and I are virtually oblivious of the thousands—if not millions—of rules, laws, advice and directions that both protect us and confine us, free us and limit us—public rules, and internal rules you’re not aware of. Take a look at yourself; notice rules good and bad—not just speed limits and tax forms, but how to brush your teeth, political correctness, whether to use deodorant, or go to church.

Loving God, though, is a different kind of rule altogether. God is not really calling you to obedience. God is everywhere involved in everything you do. You and I know that God is not “just in church” or in a specific act of morality. Loving God is just not a rule like all these others—it is awareness of God’s world. You don’t do things to love God; you just do them.

Try not to think conscience or commandment deliberately. That may even make what you do self-centered; focus instead on the world in front of you—out there–on the world that is His gift. Appreciate this moment; be grateful; care for others, accept beauty and truth here and now show compassion for whatever you see. The “shall love” is a call not to obey—but to do! Grasp that. Obedience is too often what “I” do and not what is called for “out there.” The Good News calls you to “other-ness.”

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