In Our Lord’s time there had been an ongoing debate among Jewish Scribes as to which commandments of the Law were more important. One faction held that it was the laws regarding keeping holy the Sabbath, while the other faction felt it was the laws regarding observing Kosher.
Hoping that Jesus might have a useful insight into the question, a young scribe asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Side-stepping the legal debate, and speaking from his wisdom, Jesus won the young man’s admiration. He had answered that the greatest commandment was the one that has us loving God with all our hearts. He then added that there was a second commandment similar to the first one. It is the commandment that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.
The scribe, speaking in admiration, altered Our Lord’s answer substantially. While Jesus had spoken of two similar commandments, the scribe made them into one, as though we showed love for God by loving our neighbors.
Admiring that insight, Jesus broke off further disputing with the officials. It was as though he had been waiting for someone to realize that the real way of showing love for God is by loving his children.
Today is the anniversary of D-Day, when sixty-seven years ago, the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy. They were putting a halt to the Nazis who had imprisoned continental Europe, and who had pushed six million men, women, and children into ovens.
Facing a frightening rain of bullets, a force of a hundred and sixty thousand British, Australians, and Canadian youths waded up onto the beaches of Normandy, where they left four thousand of their comrades dead. Today, we pray for those heroes who showed their love for God by loving their European neighbors more than themselves.