Loving God, loving all – that’s the whole message of the Greatest Commandment
Reflections on the readings for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 4, 2018): DT 6:2-6; PS 18:2-3,3-4,47,51; HEB 7:23-28; MK 12:28-34
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Gospel for this Sunday concentrates on the greatest commandment.
A scribe knowledgeable in the law of Moses asks Jesus to name the first of all the commandments. Our Lord answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). Rather than discussing the specifics of the Ten Commandments, Christ quotes from Deuteronomy and Leviticus in order to link the necessity for loving our God with that of loving our neighbor.
Certainly, both of these ideas were vital to Jewish life. Yet Jesus uniquely stressed the need to love God rather than to just obey Him – and then went on to say that loving human beings is equally important. Neither command has reality or depth without the other. If we truly love the Lord, we must express it by caring about – and caring for – others, particularly those in need. The commandments to love God and neighbor remind us that Almighty God is the source of all love. His desire for us to return His love and share His love becomes clear only when appreciate the immensity of His love for us. God made us because He loves us and wants us to be with Him forever. The Father sent His Son for our salvation. In turn, we give thanks by loving Him and all His children.