The Greatest Commandment — that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself — is something I have returned to frequently in my homilies and in my teaching at RCIA. Why? Well, Christ makes it very clear: The Scribe to whom Christ tells the Greatest Commandment recognizes the truth of it, and when he recognizes the truth, Christ tells him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
We would all be very well off if Christ told each of us, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Not far from the Kingdom of God is a good place to be…. But it’s not as good as being in the Kingdom of God. How do we go from being not far from the Kingdom of God to being a part of the Kingdom of God? Well, we keep all of the commandments and we have complete faith and total trust in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.
We can’t make it to the Kingdom on our own. If we could, Christ would not have had to die on the Cross. If the Law — without Christ, the fulfillment of the Law — could save us, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord would have been redundant. And of course we all know that — far from being redundant — it is the most precious gift that God can give, precisely because it makes possible our own salvation.
We are all sinners in a fallen world, and yet we do not despair because we have faith in the One who saves us. And so, we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength; and we love our neighbor as our selves because that is what our Catholic faith calls us to do. And in so doing, we are not far from the Kingdom of God. And then we keep the faith and trust in God to bring us the rest of the way into His Kingdom where we shall shine not like the sun, but like the moon. For just as the moon shines because it reflects the light of the sun, we, too, shall shine because we reflect the light of the Son of God.