The Heart of the Gospel

10-31-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Centuries of God’s devoted people have found this prayer on their lips: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” The fundamental prayer has been laid as the cornerstone of many spiritual lives. Where did you learn how to pray or did you? Maybe there is a wisdom figure in your life who inspired and guided you by the genuine, holy simplicity of their lives. His or her example may have led you to God and taught you how to pray. Or perhaps you discovered this art on your own after stumbling over yourself enough times and finally realizing it was time to reach out to Someone greater than yourself. There is a timeless truth that we not only tend to forget, but may have never learned. There is only one God, the Lord alone! As a result, we often worship other gods rather than the One true God. Everything in our life gets distorted and we find ourselves lost and off center.

If we haven’t learned it yet, there is a life lesson at the top of all of the possible lessons to be learned. There is One True and Eternal God who alone has a solitary claim on us and must be loved with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Until we learn this primary lesson, we run the risk of getting distracted and sidetracked. We will also never really figure out what is at the heart of the relationships we share with the other human beings on this planet with whom we share life. That one primary lesson will teach us the second most valuable lesson: that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. You cannot have one without the other. The presence of God in the core soul of each one of us requires that all of our relationships work together. This truth is at the heart of the Gospel.

If every human being, each in their own way, could stumble upon and genuinely embrace this truth, look how different life would be! Our priorities will immediately shift from “I and me” to “us and we” and we will develop a more inclusive vision for our brothers and sisters. Concerned not only about my own well-being and happiness but also that of our brothers and sisters, humanity stands a chance at succeeding in the struggle with injustice, abuse, inequity, violence, war, entitlement, and privilege. It seems that getting to this point has been at the heart of the Gospel and the kingdom of God from the moment Jesus first started to preach. It’s a wonder why, then, why so many centuries later, we have still failed to achieve his vision. Maybe we just haven’t learned our primary lessons yet.