Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Great Commandment(s)

In today's Gospel Jesus takes
Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.


Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

and unites them.  

He expands the loving of God to include all of the parts of the person as his audience would have understood the human being: heart, soul, mind, and strength. And he compresses the commandment in Leviticus to its essence.

Love of neighbor by itself is not a Christian Virtue it is philanthropy.  And mere belief in God is not love of God, that is faith. Jesus tells us that the starting point must be a true love (agape) of God, and that love of God which expresses itself in things like attendance at mass and prayer. 

Then we must unite that love of God with a love of neighbor. The love here goes beyond (philios) brotherly love to also agape, a love rooted in God. 

 For as many times as we hear the two commandments we still struggle to live them.