"IF ONLY THIS IS DONE,
IT IS ENOUGH”
IT IS ENOUGH”
St. John, the Apostle, lived to a very old age. Toward the end of his life he was so feeble that he had to be carried to church. Even though he could not preach at length because of his advanced age, he insisted on saying something at Mass. His message was brief and it was always the same: "Little children, love one another." Everybody was bored with the repetition of his words, and finally someone spoke-up enough to ask, "'Master, why do you always say this?' John replied, 'Because it is the command of the Lord; if only this is done, it is enough'" (Jerome Commentary on Galatians 6:10).
St. John was indeed imitating Jesus, Who never wearied of preaching the command of love, a command that we have heard once again in today's Gospel of Mark. To love God and love thy neighbor is the greatest commandment of all. Our Lord never tired of repeating it; may we never tire of hearing it, because there is certainly a great need for love in our world. These two commands keep us close to the heart of God.
John was right in saying, "If only this is done, it is enough." If love were the controlling force on this earth, there would be no wars, no riots, and no injustice. We know that we are far from this ideal. But, where do we start? I think the answer is obvious; we must start within the framework of our personal lives. "Charity begins at home" - that is, with the persons we live and work with every day. There is no point in complaining about the lack of love that produces wars, riots and injustice, if love is not the motivating force in our own personal lives. Jesus knows that there is a lot more room for love in the lives of each one of us!
By declaring our love for God, the outward action of our love towards others takes us from the Mass and sends us out into the world. At the end of Mass we say: "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." It means to love and serve Him always! This gift of service is made manifest through our actions of love toward others; the actions that are driven by the heart and passion of God revealed in worship. Then, from our actions in the world, we return to God in praise and thanksgiving, receiving a renewed faith. Just as our heart sends rich blood through the body and returns poor oxygen to the lungs for renewal, the love of God and love of neighbor are a single act that keeps us close to the heart of God.
In coming together in worship, we will again and again hear about the command of love. May we never be tired of hearing it, and may we never give up trying to practice it. "It is the command of the Lord; if only this is done, it is enough!"