One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, «Which commandment is the first of all?». Jesus answered, «The first is: ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength’. And after this comes another one: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. There is no commandment greater than these two».
The teacher of the Law said to him, «Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice».
Jesus approved this answer and said, «You are not far from the kingdom of God». But after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
We all love each other in our own way and in our contemporary world this word is very much vulgarised that we use it for everything, to person to animal to food and practically to everything under the earth. I would like to share with you all my philosophy of ‘love’ and it may help you to translate this love in act.
We all say that God is love and love is an act. Let us see how God loves us and how this love is an act.
It all begins with a simple feeling or a sensation or an emotion with a desire to have closeness to the other, which bridges the two ends and a proximity is created. In God, by the incarnation Jesus is very close to the humanity and through the Holy Spirit God lives in each and every one of us. When we say that God is love, we mean that He is close to us and we are close to Him.
In this proximity we see and know the other person. God is so close to us that He see everything happening in us and thus He knows as we are.
In this knowing He accepts us and allows us to know Him. Once we know God as He is, we allow Him to enter into us and He starts to live us and we become aware of this presence. It is here we engage and try to do the will of God. Thus our love for God is doing His will in our lives and this love is an act.
We have to verify according this philosophy, do we really love God? And without loving Him we can’t love another person, still difficult to love ourselves, because God lives in us.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Love God with one's whole self, by Gregory of Nyssa, 330-395 AD
"Human life consists in a threefold unity. We are taught similarly by the apostle in what he says to the Ephesians, praying for them that the complete grace of their 'body and soul and spirit' may be preserved at the coming of the Lord. We use the word 'body,' for the nutritive part, the word for the vital, 'soul,' and the word 'spirit' for the intellective dimension. In just this way the Lord instructs the writer of the Gospel that he should set before every commandment that love to God which is exercised with all the heart and soul and mind (Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). This single phrase embraces the human whole: the corporeal heart, the mind as the higher intellectual and mental nature, and the soul as their mediator." (excerpt from ON THE MAKING OF MAN 8.5.10)
«There is no commandment greater than these two»
Fr, Rodolf PUIGDOLLERS i Noblom SchP
(La Roca del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, in Mark's Gospel, we see how one of the scribes asks Jesus: «Which commandment is the first of all?» (Mk 12:28). The question is somewhat cunning. In the first place, because he is trying to establish some sort of ranking amongst the different commandments; and, secondly, because his question is centered in the Law. This is logical, bearing in mind that the question comes from a master of the Law.
The Lord's answer takes to pieces the spirituality of that «master of the Law» And the attitude of the disciple of Jesus with respect to God can be summed up in two points: «You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart» (Mk 12:30) and «You shall love your neighbor as yourself» (Mk 12:31). The religious behavior is defined in his relationship with God and with his neighbor; and the human behavior, in his relationship with the others and with God. St. Augustine says the same with other words: «Love God, and do whatever you please». Love God and love the others, and all the rest will just be a consequence of this plenitude of love.
The teacher of the Law understands it perfectly well. And he adds that to love God with all one’s heart, and one’s neighbor as oneself, «is more important than any burnt offering and sacrifice» (Mk 12:33). God is awaiting our reply, our total deliverance, «with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength» (Mk 12:30), for God means Truth, Goodness, and generous dedication to others. «Offerings and sacrifices» have a meaning only insofar they will be the true expression of this double love. And to think that, at times, we use the “little commandments” and «the offerings and sacrifices» as stumbling-block to criticize or wound others!
Jesus approves the reply of the master of the Law with «You are not far from the kingdom of God» (Mk 12:34). For Jesus, whoever loves his neighbor over everything else is not far from God.