"You are not far from the kingdom of God." What does it mean to be close to God's kingdom? In today's Gospel, Jesus is in a dialogue with teachers of the law. They know well the Law of Moses, with its complex codes, expectations, and punishments. What will Jesus say? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength ... You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus effortlessly distills all the books of law into two commands. The simplicity of the Gospel message doesn't mean it's easy to follow. Far from it! The simplicity of the Gospel indicates its totality. Anything that requires the passions of our heart, the choice of our soul, the reason in our mind, or the strength of our body - all of this ought to be animated by love. As you can imagine, that means pretty much everything! The love of God and love of neighbor is meant to flow into our entire lives. The Gospel can appear complicated because life is complicated. Not every outcast is easy to love. We lack the knowledge or compassion to heal everyone who suffers. Personal sacrifice is not always noticed or valued. In the face of the un-known, fear can be easier than faith. Life's cir-cumstances can seem like obstacles to God's love, not opportunities. And yet Jesus' command still stands. As you reflect this week, examine those areas where it's easy to love. Thank God for them! But take some time to consider the people and circumstances that challenge you. Ask God to show you what it means to love there. How is He inviting you to enlarge your heart, strengthen your soul, open your mind, and persevere in your strength? How is He inviting you to love?