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Matthew 22:34-40

The Word of God

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Matthew 22:34-40
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • I suppose we can never overestimate the importance of this saying of Jesus. For him it is absolutely clear that the greatest commandment is love. Nothing can be more important than loving God above all and loving others as oneself. I let this truth touch my mind and my heart, purify my intentions and actions, and give me a sense of real priorities in whatever I do.
    • ‘On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also’. I recall what St Paul once said, that whatever I do without love is absolutely worthless. I look at the quality of my love, and ask for a truly loving heart.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The very Word of God was there before them, wanting to give them his love, and some people were just interested in scoring points against him and against each other. It is just possible that this same Word of God is standing right in front of me in my daily life and I am missing him because I am caught up in some silly games of my own.
    • I might want to gaze on this scene and look with compassion at the Sadducees and Pharisees. It might be a blessing if I can catch sight of myself among them.
    • At another time Jesus was asked, 'Who is my neighbour?' Then he told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 11). Jesus expands the meaning of neighbour to include everyone in need. His understanding of 'neighbour' is as broad as God - thus he unites the two commandments. It is an easy answer to say that the greatest commandment is to love God. The real insight of Jesus is to unite the two loves of life - God and others - into one big law of love.
    • The gospel today centres the message of Jesus on love; on two loves united in each of us. Love God, love the neighbour - this is the only commandment of Jesus. Without this, all we say we do for him is really done for ourselves. No detail of religious observance is above this law of love. Jesus said this, and lived it in his life. He never allowed the laws of religion overtake the need for love. The message of Jesus is all-embracing and covers all our relationships, both the close relationships of marriage, family and friendship, as well as the call to love the wider world, particularly where the needs are great.
    • Jesus' religious education stressed love of the neighbour. He brought it to its farthest - love to death. The life and death of Jesus is a self-sacrificing love. Prayer is our moment of being open to the total love of Jesus for all. Without a welcoming of this love, our faith cannot be understood.