CLP Talk 4 The Christian Ideal Loving God & Neighbor
MODULE 2: AN AUTHENTIC AND SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE
OVERVIEW OF THE SESSION
ANCHOR VERSE: “Jesus summed up the whole law in these two greatest commandments: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Mathew. 22:37-40)
GOAL: To explain the meaning of the Christian ideals of loving God and loving neighbor, and inspire participants to practice it.
Loving God and loving neighbor form the inseparable core of the Christian life. These two go
together. Loving God with our all heart, mind, soul and strength is our highest ideal. This is the
first and greatest commandment. But we cannot love God without loving our neighbor. We
love our neighbor not only as we love ourselves, but as God does.
- Group Activity: What would a Christian do?
- The Team Leader narrates a scenario (pictures/video) and asks what would a
- Christian do in each scenario.
- The participants answer by either acting it out or drawing it.
- Talk Proper
- Reflection (Characteristics of Christian Love)
- Group discussion
- Read and reflect on the Characteristics of Christian Love
- Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Activity with family
- Choose an act among corporal works of mercy which you think is most relevant in your place.
- Prepare ahead of time, after you choose the activity make a checklist of what to do.
- In choosing the place, make sure that the place where you will conduct your RAK activity is safe for your children.
- After the RAK activity, share with your family their experience during the activity.
- Take a picture and post it in your group chat or social media accounts. If you decide to post it on social media, please use the hashtags: #Christian Love #Random ActofKindness #ChristianLifeProgram(name of Chapter), #Year and #CouplesforChrist e.g. #ChristianLifeProgramChristTheKing #2020 #CouplesforChrist
- Announcement: Participants must bring their family/family picture next session.
The speaker is a CFC brother or sister who can explain the Christian ideals of loving God and
neighbor without sounding preachy or boastful, but inspiring our participants to respond to
The sharer is a brother or sister who can testify to his/her faith journey in learning to love God and neighbor.
THE CHRISTIAN IDEALS: LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOR
THE EXPANDED TALK OUTLINE
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
Loving God and loving neighbor form the inseparable core of the Christian life. These
two go together. Loving God is our highest ideal, the first and greatest commandment. But we
cannot love God without loving our neighbor. We love our neighbor not only as we love
ourselves, but as God does.
I. Loving God is our highest ideal.
a. Loving God with all our heart
The Biblical understanding of “heart” is the seat of intelligence and decision. In modern English, it would be equivalent to “mind” or “will”. It includes intelligent thought and will, along with feeling or emotion. The heart is the symbol of the core of who a person is: “As one face differs from another, so does the human heart from another.” (Prov. 27:19)
To love God with all our heart means to be totally committed to him. It is a commitment
to seek the Lord first and foremost. It is a decision to put God first, to be loyal to him, to
place his will and interest above our own.
How do we put the Lord first and foremost in our life? By deciding to obey him. “If you
love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn. 14:15)
We need to develop a personal relationship with Him, arising from our dynamic and life-
giving relationship with Him as His sons and daughters. We should also spend regular
time with God in prayer and Scripture reading.
b. Loving God with all our mind and soul
We love God with all our mind and soul by keeping our mind clean and holy, free from
evil and impure thoughts (Mathew. 5:28), from uncharitable thoughts (Mathew. 7:1-5), from
suspicions that estrange relationships, and from worries knowing that God will take care
of us. We should be very discerning in the use of media that can influence our minds.
What we read, watch and listen to, we hope, can help us become better Christian
spouses, parents, co-workers and servants.
Our decisions and choices must be guided by God’s Word and not by the ways of the
We can love God with all our soul by being at the disposal of God for His purpose and by thinking of ways to serve God. A model for this is St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church. He devoted his life reflecting, studying and writing about God, which led him to achieve one of his life’s greatest works, the Summa Theologica.
c. Loving God with all our strength
Loving God with all our strength means giving God all our resources: time, talent, and
treasure, as what we call “ours” is not really ours but his.
We do not own our time, we merely manage it. Thus, we must seek God’s direction on
how we can spend it generously for his purposes like doing Christian service, visit the
sick, serve the parish, feed the hungry and many more.
In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus teaches us that if we do not use our God-given talent
for the kingdom of God, then whatever talent we have will be taken away and given to
those who use them rightfully. (Mt. 25:28-30) God asks for our treasure, wealth and
possessions not because he needs them, but to look into the disposition of our hearts.
God asks us to return to him what is his so that he might pour out even more blessings
upon us. He asks us to give to our tithes and alms. (Mathew. 6:21, Mal. 3:10)
II. LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELVES
Our perfect models for loving God are Jesus and Mary. This love is made possible by the power
of the Holy Spirit. May we follow their example and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to love as God loves.
a. Loving our neighbor is not an option. It is God’s commandment. And Jesus commanded us to love others not only as we love ourselves but as he loves us: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn. 13:34) Love as Jesus loves.
b. The full depth of the meaning of Jesus’ teaching on loving our neighbor is revealed in
the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The story begins with a lawyer among the crowd
wanting to test Jesus by asking: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus
responded with a question, “What is written in the Law?” The lawyer answered by
quoting Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 18:18, respectively, “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” and, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The lawyer goes on, “Who is my neighbor?” So, Jesus related the parable to them. Jesus took pains describing in great detail the Samaritan’s specific actions to help the victim — “approached the victim”, “poured oil and wine”, “bandaged him”, “lifted him up”, “took him to an inn”, “cared for him” — in order to convey the message that “being a neighbor” entails “doing things” and not merely wishing others well.
c. “Who is my neighbor?” The responsibility of being a neighbor is upon us. The
perspective is not to ask others but to ask ourselves, “Am I being a neighbor to others?”
When we love our neighbor just as Jesus loves, we become a gift to others!
Loving God and loving neighbor have been likened to the vertical and the horizontal parts of the cross. One directs us upward to God, while the other directs us horizontally toward our
Loving God is not an easy task. In fact, it is impossible without God’s grace. But God will give it freely and generously if we sincerely ask for it.
Jesus said that we should love one another as he loves us. He loves us regardless of who we
are. He does not care if we are rich or poor, educated or not, Samaritan or Jew. He died for all
of us. He is “neighbor” to us all.
- Do you understand the Biblical meaning of love in contrast with that of the worldly meaning?
- How have you failed to love in everyday life?
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE FOR STUDY
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
The Jews and the Samaritans hated and despised each other for many generations. It all started after the death of Solomon in 922 BC. Israel was divided into two, the kingdom of Israel in the north and the kingdom of Judea in the south. In 721 BC the Assyrians occupied the northern kingdom. Then in 857 BC, the Babylonians conquered the southern kingdom of Judea. But in 529 BC, the Persian emperor Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and allowed the exiled Jews to return to Judea.
In the meantime, the northern kingdom remained under Assyrian occupation. The Assyrians, who were pagans, intermarried with the native population, including the Samaritans. And these
intermarriages went on for many generations. Thus in the eyes of the Jews who had returned
from exile in Babylon and who considered themselves as the only faithful interpreters of Israel’s religious traditions, the Samaritans were half-breeds and half-pagans. As a result, the
Samaritans were prevented from worshiping in the Temple of Jerusalem. The Samaritans, therefore, built their own temple on Mt. Gerisim. Then around 6-9 AD, a group of Samaritans defiled the Temple court in Jerusalem by strewing it with human bones. This action led to further division and even more bitter hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans. This hostility and hatred between Jews and Samaritans were so intense that we read in the book of Sirach 50:25-26: “My whole being loathes two nations, the third is not even a people.” Those who live in Seir and Philistia, and the degenerate folk who dwell in Shechem. Mt. Seir is in the territory of the Edomites. The Edomites and the Philistines were enemies of the Jews. Shechem is a city in Samaria. As stated in the book of Sirach, the Jews did not even want to call the Samaritans “people” (the third is not even a people…the degenerate folk who dwell in Shechem). The Jews hated the Samaritans more intensely than the Edomites and the Philistines, whom they had fought with regularly in their long history.