I imagine that all of us are familiar with the acronym KISS, keep it simple, stupid. Maybe you have used the expression or been a part of process when someone reminds us of the beauty of the simple and uncomplicated. I don’t know the origin of this acronym, but as we reflect on the Gospel story today, it seems that Jesus implicitly understood it.
Matthew’s Gospel story is about the obtuseness of the religious leaders and their desire to trip up Jesus. “What is the greatest of the laws?” they ask Jesus. His reply is a pure KISS.
You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart,
with your whole soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and first commandment.
The second is like it;
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two commandments the whole law is based,
and the prophets, as well.
Jesus reveals an uncomplicated approach to faithfulness. How could he possibly be more clear? Jesus is saying: Love God and love your neighbor. That is what it’s all about. Period. Full stop. Now go and live it!
How can anybody be confused about what God desires from us?
And yet, the version of this story in the Gospel of Luke reveals that humankind has a seemingly limitless capacity for subterfuge and seeking loopholes. In an attempt to define the absolute minimal requirements, someone asks: “And who is my neighbor?” And Luke has Jesus respond with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
There is no room for confusion in this Gospel story. Love God! And just like it—Love your neighbor! Loving God and loving neighbor are inseparable commands because God identifies so intimately with all humankind; all who are created in God’s own image and likeness; especially those that we have to go to the peripheries of society and Church to find.
In his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers and Sisters), Pope Francis continues to promote a culture of encounter and communion as a Gospel imperative. In the encyclical he reflects on this dual command of Jesus and the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Pope Francis writes, Love impels us towards universal communion. No one can mature or find fulfillment by withdrawing from others. By its very nature, love calls for growth in openness and the ability to accept others as part of a continuing adventure that makes every periphery converge in a greater sense of belonging. As Jesus told us: You are all brothers (and sisters) (Mt 23:8).
For Precious Blood people, these words are an echo of our spirituality. The Precious Blood of Jesus was shed for all people without distinction. And that love poured out proclaims all people precious in the eyes and heart of God. To be drenched in the love and the Precious Blood of Christ is be filled with the grace to recognize and welcome all people as brothers and sisters.
A final KISS: Communion with God is a grace that brings us into the blessing of communion with each other. Period. Full stop. Now go and live it.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. William Nordenbrock, C.PP.S., is the former moderator general of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.