We cannot love the God whom we cannot see if we do not love the neighbor whom we can see.

Friday, 3/29/14

Today’s Gospel marked the end of a time when Jesus was open to questioning from Jerusalem’s religious leaders. This passage ends with Mark saying, “No one dared to ask him any more questions.

Jesus called an end to those interchanges because he had been waiting for someone to give the right answer, and when it happened this day, he put an end to discussions with those leaders.

It seemed that the Pharisees and Scribes had a running debate over which was the most important part of the law. Some felt that it was the regulations concerning keeping the Sabbath holy, while others thought it was the laws governing eating only kosher food.

Jesus sidestepped their debate, giving instead what he saw to be the two greatest commandments, namely the one telling us to love God, and the one telling us to love our neighbor.

The Scribe was so impressed by the simple beauty of Our Lord’s answer that he restated it. But, in restating Our Lord’s words, he made an important change. He made one commandment out of the two commandments.

He said that the one great commandment was the one that told us to love God and love the neighbor.

In other words, your love for God is not real if you do not love your neighbor. St. John, in his First Letter said, “If anyone says, ‘I love God, ‘ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love his brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he cannot see.” 1 John. 4:20

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