Tuesday, December 6, 2011
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,“‘The Lord said to my Lord,“Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:34-46
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myra in the fourth century. Nicholas has many stories, legends and miracles attached to his ministry, but his care for poor orphans and children is among the most famous. He was said to have slipped money into the socks of three children in the middle of the might who were about to be sold into slavery. His spirit of love and care for his neighbor is the hallmark of his life and his spirit of love and care lives on in the spirit of our present day Santa Claus.
Jesus had been drilled by the religious leaders and each of his answers astounded them more.
He responded to their digging by answering them with love, with the care of others, with the holy actions of turning to face the world around them. We are invited by God today to live as people who make love our first commandment - the love of God and our neighbor.
Today, I ask God that, in this season of preparation, may I remember to turn to the world around us and make love my priority and my rule of life. May I have the strength and courage to see those around me with the eyes of God, with the eyes of love, with an open heart and a tender spirit. May we all, like St. Nicholas, who followed Jesus so many years ago, make our lives centered on love, caring for the least among us.