When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“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.” (Mt 22:34-40)
In the Book of Deuteronomy alone, there are hundreds upon hundreds of laws that regulated all parts of a person’s life. In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Ten Commandments are also restated. If one were to be a faithful Jew, that person would attempt to adhere to all the laws and all the parts of the laws.
Knowing that, the scholar of the law in today’s gospel must have thought he would be able to trap Jesus easily. After all, how could anyone say that one of thousands of commandments was the greatest?
He had Jesus right where he wanted Him.
Or so he thought.
Because Jesus was able to boil down all of the many laws and prescriptions into the greatest commandment: love the Lord, your God. And Jesus was able to add on a logical extension to that greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus said that any other law that could be selected would be based upon the love of God and that love which logically flows to others.
We live such complicated lives. We look for answers in everything that we do. To paraphrase an old song, sometimes we look for answers in all the wrong places. Isn’t it wonderful to find out that our faith can be brought to us crystal clear in a couple of brief statements: Love the Lord, your God? and Love your neighbor as yourself?
That’s all we need to know.
That’s all we need to do.
Let’s get busy doing just that today.
FAITH ACTION: In prayer today, ask God to increase your love for Him, for yourself, and for others. And, if you have difficulty with anyone, ask God to help you love that person most especially.