Friday of the Third Week of Lent
One of the scribes…asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31, NABRE)
A reading from a Homily on Genesis by St. John Chrysostom:
“This is the summit of virtue, the foundation of all God’s commandments: to the love of God is joined also love of neighbor. One who loves God does not neglect his brother…but shows him great generosity, mindful of him who has said, ‘Whoever did it to the least of my brothers did it to me.’ (Mt 25:40) He is aware that the Lord of all considers as done to himself what is done in generosity to the poor in giving relief. He does not take into consideration the lowly appearance of the poor, but the greatness of the One who has promised to accept as done to himself what is given to the poor.”6
St. John was nicknamed “Golden-Tongued” (Chrysostom in Greek), because of his eloquent preaching. His homilies, hundreds of which have come down to us, attracted flocks of people, who wanted not only to hear his beautiful words but also his practical sense. He was able to tell his listeners how to live and how to love.
The command to love God, Chrysostom says, is joined with the command to love one’s neighbor. They are tied together. But how do we love God? The one who loves God attends to his neighbor. But not just any neighbor. Chrysostom reminds us that Christ, the Lord of all, identifies with the least among us. So, if we want to love God, we are sure to love Him by serving the poor.
Reflection: How do you love God? One way is to give alms, which is a standard Lenten practice. You not only give to the poor, but also to the One who is present in the poor.
Reflection by Brother Luke Kral, OSB
 Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament, vol. 2. Thomas C. Oden and Christopher A. Hall, InterVarsity Press, 1998. p. 173.