It seems pretty simple from today’s Gospel what Jesus desires from each of us. It also seems clear what he doesn’t want from us. He doesn’t want empty promises and meaningless practices. He desires that we love our God and each other. Jesus references the Shema, the greatest of Jewish prayers to express that everything we do stems from loving God with everything we are. It can be difficult during Lent to see past the restrictions and obligations we place on ourselves to express our faith. We measure a successful Lent on how many days we have given up chocolate.

However, Jesus wants to remember the essentials, the non-negotiable of our faith – to love God and others. As the third week of Lent comes to a close, how have you loved God this week – with your heart, your understanding, and your strength? How have you shown love for God’s greatest creation, your family, friends, co-workers?

—Catherine M. Mifsud, MA is a member of the faculty of St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, where she teaches Theology. Catherine volunteers her time both on the Diocese of Baton Rouge Charis Retreat Leadership Team and for the Archdiocese of New Orleans Charis Team.