Before Facebook, there was already a prevalent book of the 90’s called “slum book.” When I was in primary level, we used each other’s slum books to create profiles and write on friends’ walls. Slum book comprised many questions, and the most common was, “what is Love?” At a very young age, I could define Love according to how I understood it then. Some kids illustrate it based on their personal experiences; others on feelings, while others took them from the book they had read.
But if I would be asked today the same question, I would answer that LOVE is a gift and God’s greatest commandment. But do I really understand the meaning of these words? Or am I like those Pharisees who never stop criticizing Jesus with His teachings about Love?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus made the greatest commandment—to love God and our neighbor—clear to us. As I pondered, our class reminded me about God’s Love and the idea that He made us because He loves us. He is the One who first loved us. Our loving is our ultimate response. Because He is Love, we can love. If we cannot love the One who created us, how can we possibly love anybody else?
But what is Jesus trying to tell us about this commandment to love? Love of God entails putting Him first among all that we do and say and serving Him wholeheartedly. Likewise, helping others without ignoring oneself defines loving your neighbor as yourself.
Love, therefore, is more than just an emotion. My juvenile definition was actually still shallow, fleeting and superficial. Love is giving oneself, including one’s time, talent, and resources, to God and others. The challenge for me now as a seminarian is not simply to post this definition in a slum book or any social media but to show it concretely to other people through my example. Let my actions and words then speak loudly of this love!
By: Sem. Roldan B. Baliano
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”