Day 22: As Simple as it Gets
BY YASAMIN MAHALLATY | March 15, 2023
I have always loved the simplicity often found in the Gospels. Jesus aids us in understanding what are sometimes abstract ideas by translating them into more accessible metaphors, themes, and stories. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals his purpose during his Sermon on the Mount—that he is not here to abolish, but to fulfill, the law or the prophets (Mt 5:17).
I am by no means an expert on scripture, let alone the laws of the Old Testament. Despite growing up in Catholic schools and working in Catholic settings, I relied on the expertise I found through theology teachers and professors to support me in interpreting ancient scripture. There was, however, always a commandment that stood out given this simplicity. When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus replies that “you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and that you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Then, Jesus makes an important connection to what we read in today’s passage—that the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments (Mt 22:36-40).
There are myriad ways to express and share our faith. Focusing on the commandments is certainly one, but to me the Body of Christ is about being in right relationship with one another and one’s community. For me, my work in supporting underserved students in accessing education and career opportunities reminds me of this connectedness. The privilege of witnessing students’ growth through equitable resources is my own small special way of building the Body of Christ amidst the chaos of our ever changing world. This Lent, I pray that you and I can use this season of renewal to consider how we reflect on the laws of our faith in service to others, and recognize that sharing in community is as simple as it gets.
- In what simple ways do you witness the Body of Christ being built in your own community, through acts that fulfill the two greatest commandments?
- How are you called to contribute to or deepen this work in your own life?
Yasi Mahallaty (she/her) is a graduate of the University of San Diego, Fordham University, and Georgetown University. She began her career as a full-time volunteer with the wonderful students and staff at Cristo Rey New York High School. Her current work at CareerSpring focuses on empowering first-generation college graduates.
My father was a small shopkeeper in the Scotforth area of Lancaster in North West England from the 1930s to 1971, though spending four of those years in wartime service with the RAF. He was hard-working, but more importantly had the knack of making every customer, who ranged literally from the University Vice-Chancellor to the local burglar, to the kids from the Anglican primary school across the road feel as if they were, for the moment, the most important person around.When he was rushed into hospital, in the pre-ecumenical early 1950s, his first visitor was tha Baptist minister, followed shortly by the Congregational minister, both customers in the shop. (Our parish priest arrived a bit later.) I think that Dad, without ever speaking of religion, lived and shared the Gospel in exactly the way you describe.
To Fr. Keefe
What a meaningful portrait of how to weave the practice of loving our neighbor into everyday life. Such a positive influence and I am sure a wonderful dad.
Students are the future leaders and pillars of Planet Earth, our Common Home. May each one of them be blessed with a happy present and a bright future.
The crux of being a disciple of Christ is to love those we meet as if they were Jesus. To do this we have to value who we are as children of God. and share His love with others as if they were our own children or brothers and sisters.