When I was at school, my English teacher would often set us the task, for homework, to summarise multi-page documents down to just one page. Even though English was my favourite subject, I sometimes found summarising difficult: the task of separating the meat from the fat, to discern the important from the irrelevant can be a challenging task. Even today as a priest, often I find writing shorter weekday homilies more difficult than writing longer Sunday homilies.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus readily gives us a wonderful summary of his teachings that spanned a three-year ministry: love God and love your neighbour as yourself. This can be further summarised down to just one word: love. This really is what our faith is about. Christianity is synonymous with the word love. It is what the Ten Commandments are all about and so it is what Christian life should be all about.
Last week, when we celebrated the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we were reminded that the Church Jesus founded is not a church for individuals. The Church is a community of love, a communion of saints. God created us out of His great and profound love and so we are called to love in return. When we pray the Our Father, we pray not for our individual needs but for everyone’s needs. We ask for “our daily bread” and not “my daily bread”, for indeed we must love our neighbours as ourselves.