Love of God and love of neighbor underpin everything
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
Jerusalem is the setting for this Sunday’s Gospel according to Mark. Jesus had arrived at the city to shouts of acclimation from the crowds. The scholars of the law, however, were not pleased with Jesus and his teachings, a situation which seemed to delight one of the scribes. He questioned Jesus on a topic which most probably arose in many Jewish circles: “Which of God’s commandments is the greatest?” This was no simple question, for Jewish law was comprised of 613 regulations. Jesus responded by stating the whole of Jewish law in two mandates: love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. They were two very positive injunctions.
It is not enough for us to know these two commandments. Rather, we must do what Jesus says.
- Do I love God with my whole being? If so, I am placing nothing and no one before God alone. GOD COMES FIRST, all day, every day!
- Do I love each sister and brother in the same way that I love and care for myself? If so, I am responding to their needs with my time, talents, and treasure. MY NEIGHBOR COMES SECOND!
Jesus told the knowledgeable scribe that he was not far from the Kingdom of God. He promises us more. If we fulfill these commands will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God.
These are very tough but worthy of our every effort, especially not coveting the nice things of our neighbors. Taking care of our neighbor is like taking care of your family and your self.