VOGEL — The greatest commandments


The truth exists and it cannot be changed or undone.

Whether you know it, whether you believe it, whether you love it or whether you hate it. It is immutable.

When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if He is a king, Jesus spoke these words: “... For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.”

The Church gives us rules, parameters within which to live our lives in a way that serves God. But the rules are not the Church.

Jesus gives us not rules but the truth; the two commandments which are above all:

The first is this: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is the truth. This is the Church, the Body of Christ. This is the essence of our existence and it is love.

Not the romantic love of youth, but the giving of self that sacrifices all to God’s will.

The first is in our spirit, surrendering our will to God. The second is in our human existence, recognizing that we all a part of the body of Christ and giving of ourselves to others because we see in them God’s holiness.

Whether we have only two coins, or whether we have great wealth; whether we have power to alter the course of history, or whether we are the chattel of society; whether we have physical strength and health or are frail and sick; the truth is same for all of us.

It is giving of self that is love, the same love that God has for us.

Praise God that we are one in truth and love! All sin, all suffering will melt away when we are consumed in truth and love.

Jesus promised that day will come. Let us seek to live it today.

Mr. Vogel is a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish in Jefferson City.