In the Jewish tradition, there are 613 commandments. In today’s gospel, it was the intention of the Pharisee to test Jesus in asking Him what the greatest is among these. Perhaps, in the the mind of the scribe, if Jesus would single out a commandment, the importance of the rest would be diminished – putting Jesus in a difficult situation before the Jewish community whose members put equal importance in all the commandments.
Despite the ill intent of the scribe, the question spoken carries in the shared longing of a people seeking God and desiring to please Him. Luke 10:25-28 gives an account that is similar to today’s gospel and gives insight to what “greatest” pertains to; that is, what must be done to inherit eternal life, not for us simply to enjoy immortality, but to be in the presence of God forever. And nothing can be sweeter than to spend eternity with the one who loves us, with love Himself.
Jesus was propounded with a question which necessarily requires one answer. However, Jesus replies with two answers. The first, love of God, and the second, love of neighbor as yourself. The answer, really, is a twin answer: love of God is inseparable from love of neighbor. Love of God without love of neighbor may result in fanaticism. How many conflicts in the world are brought about religious fanaticism? Up on God brings about an unbalanced ideological paradigm.
We are made in the image and likeness of God who is love. It is imperative upon us, his followers, to imitate and share our encounter of this divine love God has for us.
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter ~ October 29, 2017 issue.