The Greatest Commandment - 19 Oct 14

Fr Jude Shayo, A.J.

True love of God and true love of our fellow human beings are like two sides of the same coin.  One cannot exist apart from the other.  That is what we find in today's gospel.  Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment in the law.  The book answer, of course is love of God.  But Jesus does not stop there.  He goes on to give a more practical answer.  He gives the other side of the coin as well, which is love of neighbor.  True love of God and true love of neighbor are practically one and the same thing.  As Jesus said, "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 neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40). 

Greatest Commandment

For Jesus, true love has three dimensions:  (a) love of God, (b) love of neighbor, and (c) love of oneself.  The first two are positively commanded; the last one is not commanded but presumed to be the basis of all loving.  The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself presumes that you love yourself.

Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen" (1 John 4:20).

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