The Greatest Commandment

October 25, 2020
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Readings for Today

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  Matthew 22:36

This question was posed by one of the scholars of the law in an attempt to test Jesus.  It’s clear, from the context of this passage, that the relationship between Jesus and the religious leaders of His time was beginning to become contentious.  They were beginning to test Him and were even trying to trap Him. However, Jesus continued to silence them with His words of wisdom.

In response to the question above, Jesus silences this scholar of the law by giving the perfect answer.  He says, “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” (Matthew 22:37-39).

With this statement, Jesus gives a complete summary of the moral law found in the Ten Commandments.  The first three Commandments reveal that we must love God above all and with all our might.  The last six Commandments reveal that we must love our neighbor.  The moral law of God is as simple as fulfilling these two more general commandments.

But is it all that simple?  Well, the answer is both “Yes” and “No.”  It’s simple in the sense that God’s will is not typically complex and difficult to comprehend.  Love is spelled out clearly in the Gospels and we are called to embrace a radical life of true love and charity.

However, it can be considered difficult in that we are not only called to love, we are called to love with all our being.  We must give of ourselves completely and without reserve.  This is radical and requires that we hold nothing back.

Reflect, today, upon the simple call to love God and your neighbor with all that you are.  Reflect, especially, upon that word “all.”  As you do, you will most certainly become aware of ways in which you fail to give everything.  As you see your failure, recommit in hope to the glorious path of making a total gift of yourself to God and others.

Lord, I choose to love You with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  I also choose to love all people as You love them.  Give me the grace to live these two commandments of love and to see them as the path to holiness of life.  I do love You, dear Lord.  Help me to love You more.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Image: Christ among the Pharisees by Jacob Jordaens