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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Matthew 22:34-40

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mt 22:37)

After hearing that the Sadducees had been silenced by Jesus, one of the Pharisees, a scholar of the law, tests Jesus by asking which of the commandments is the greatest. The scholar asks this question to trap Jesus. While the question posed may not be genuine, Jesus answers in a genuine way.


Jesus gives us a two-part answer to the question. Firstly, we must love God supremely, and secondly, we must love others selflessly. His initial response, “you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” is a command that the Jewish people would have already been familiar with and it's probable that they would have agreed with this response. This command comes straight from Deuteronomy 6:5, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The expectation is simple, love God with everything you do, in every situation, even in the face of adversity. The love the Lord requires is not a feeble love.


The second commandment Jesus points to comes straight from Leviticus 19:18, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus not only gives the Pharisees the greatest commandment, He provides a second which is consequential to the first. A person who genuinely loves God also loves others because he realizes that they are children of the same Father.


It is impossible to love God without also loving your neighbor. The two commandments Jesus gives us are inseparable. An active love of the Lord is the principle that unifies the law of God and ties it all together. If we live in accordance with those two commandments, we will be keeping God's law contained in the whole of the Scriptures; for "the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."


The Lord knows we are human and loving is not always the easiest thing to do. However, we can practice this call to love each day. If we fail in our attempts, we can offer it up to the Lord and ask for His strength to love better the next time.

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