The great commandment! Love of God and love of neighbour. Everything depends on love. All we have to do is hear these words of our Lord to realize that love is at the basis of all of our life if we want to follow Him. But we tend to find reasons not to love one another. That seems to be part of our being. We don’t look for sin but we often avoid the good that we could do. This commandment of love is found also in the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures. Jesus makes it clearer to us. In the Book of Exodus today, we hear some of the early formulations of how to love others and a practical description of the people who should be loved; widows, orphans and the poor demand particular attention in terms of love. Today we would focus on those who are the outcasts of society: the abusers, the ugly people, those who have personality disorders, etc. Every age has people that it marginalizes. The Gospel of Matthew today once again generalizes: love God and love your neighbour. We can recall the story of the Good Samaritan to remind us that our neighbour is everyone who is in need in any way. This is a call to universal love. It is not an invitation to try to figure out those whom we don’t have to love. Our Church is still struggling with how to love those who don’t follow the rules, how to love those who do not conform, how to love those who reject the teachings of our Church. This is all part of learning how to love. Today the First Letter to the Thessalonians reminds us that our challenge is receiving the word with joy from the Holy Spirit, in times of great affliction. This tells us that it is not always easy to understand what it means to love, that sometimes trying to love will put us in great danger and yet we will receive joy from the Holy Spirit as we struggle to be faithful to the Word. In a family or in a religious community or in a parish community, it is not easy to love those who reject the way of life of the family, of the religious community or of the parish. Loving these people does not mean rejecting the way of life handed down to us in the Lord. It does mean seeking ways to love those who reject it. This is part of the ongoing challenge of following Jesus Christ. Today, as we hear the Word of God once more, we can commit ourselves to loving others once more and to seeking active ways of love those who cannot follow the way of life that we have received from Jesus. May the Holy Spirit guide us!