As Jesus approaches the cross in Jerusalem, the Pharisees and elders continue to challenge him on his authority as a teacher, rabbi and minister asking him which is the greatest commandment? He responds by combining two laws, one in Leviticus the other from Deuteronomy, laws that we know so well. “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” To love God we are called upon to love our neighbor, in loving our neighbor we demonstrate our love for God.
After escaping from the abuse Paul experiences in Philippi, he travels to Thessaloniki where he presents the gospel without flattery or deception. The people receive the Gospel because he came in the power of the Holy Spirit. Despite their great affliction, they have become models of faith to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. They are putting into practice their faith and Paul sees the joy in their hearts for being witnesses, being disciples even though they have gone through much. They have turned from idols, distractions and false promises to live for God with their whole heart, whole soul and with their whole mind. Now, they are focused on the presence of Christ in their midst.
My dad’s sister, Sister Ann Clare Hendel is Sister of the Precious Blood now residing in the nursing care facility at their motherhouse in O’Fallon, Missouri. She entered the order in the 1940’s, eventually earning her B.A. degree, going on to advanced studies in Latin and spent her life as a teacher at various schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. She came out a number of times to visit us in California either related to a workshop, retreat or some other ploy. It is interesting having a religious Sister in the family. Now in her 90’s, she has had a couple of episodes falling, some other health issues, and now memory issues, not unlike our dad, her brother. My cousin alerted me that Sr. Ann Clare seemed to nearer to heaven’s door a couple of weeks ago and wondered if I could come out for her funeral. Well, it seems that moment is not eminent. In the meantime, she is doing better, speaking more clearly, though repeating herself, generally in a good mood, not significantly confused and enjoying coloring at the table. About 20 or 30 years she began painting, expressing herself in art, after retiring from teaching. Now she can manage coloring and visiting with family – much to be grateful for. She is still teaching, teaching my cousins patience and faithfulness, as all of us need to learn and relearn patience as we strive to love God and love our neighbor.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel