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Practice! Practice! Practice!

**You must love the Lord your God ... you must love your neighbor** (Mark 12:30-31).
Deuteronomy 6:2-6; Psalms 18:2-4,47,51; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 12:28-34

Sermon Topic Love

Sermon Week Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Matthew 25:13

Keywords

When the poet, Maya Angelou, appeared on the "Today Show" a few years ago, she was asked about her lifetime goals. She answered, "I want to become a Christian." This surprised the show's host who asked, "But aren't you already a Christian?" To which the poet replied, "When people come up to me and say they are Christians, I think, 'Oh my, already?'"

We who call ourselves Christians, we followers of Christ, are on a journey that lasts a lifetime. But we're on our way! We're in the process of becoming! We're following the Lord into ever closer union with God who is Love, but only to the extent that we love one another as Christ loves us.

Our Gracious God calls us into existence because He loves us so much. And He continually calls us into union with Himself: to be with Him, to literally enter into a lifelong love affair with Him. And the more we are able to do this, the more we experience wholeness of life. The more we are able to do this, the more we become the unique persons God created each one of us to be.

When we talk about this, and think about this, we tend to emphasize the inward journey that strengthens our union with God: prayer and meditation and worship. But, as the Gospels tell us over-and-over again, in order to answer God's call into union with Himself, in order to achieve wholeness of life, in order to be the kind of persons God wants us to be, we need to journey outward as well as inward.

This means moving out from our center, reaching out to care for others, to show compassion for others, to genuinely care about others. Failing this, our spiritual growth is impeded. Our journey toward union with God is roadblocked. There is an ominous pause in our lifelong love affair with God. Put another way, the more we love others, the more we love God.

In today's Gospel Lesson, a man of religion puts this question to Jesus: "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus answers, [...]

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