Sunday, November 4, 2018

“The two commandments are inseparable. - You cannot love God without loving your neighbor……..And you cannot love your neighbor without the Grace and Love of God.”

When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. - Ezra Taft Benson- 1899 – 1994: was an American farmer, government official, and religious leader who served as the 15th United States Secretary of Agriculture)

Gospel Text: (MK 12:28B-34)
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
'He is One and there is no other than he.'
And 'to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself'
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

The Great Commandment, to love God above all things and to love your neighbor as your self is considered a formal moral imperative. It is a command not a suggestion or request. The statement is made with authority, not as just a teacher but as Lord. 

The emphasis on the inseparability of love of God and love of neighbor is the key to making love the correct interpretation of the law and the prophets. 

The spiritual life of the Christian is really a life that is lived in ways pleasing to God under the Great Commandment. How we treat one another really matters. It touches not only the neighbor but reaches deep into the larger society. 

I will end where I began that the two verses of the Great Commandment reflect the essence of Christianity. It is a moral imperative of Christian behavior. It is the blueprint of Christian love. 

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