Love Thy Neighbor

In reply to a question put forth by a scholar regarding what’s the greatest of the commandments, Jesus rein- forced the commandment of love of God.

The commandment to love God was not anything novel in Jesus’ time.
Faithful and devout Jews prayed the Shema, the prayer based on Deuteronomy 6, which Jesus often quoted and which the Jewish people recited in their morning and evening prayers to remind themselves that they are called on to love the Lord God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength.

Those testing Jesus would’ve been very familiar with the command to love God since they would’ve prayed the Shema twice a day.

But in responding to the scholar’s question, Jesus goes further and also reminded those present of the second of the greatest commandments, that you should love your neighbor as yourself, which
Our Lord quoted from the book of Leviticus. Again those listening to Jesus should have been familiar with this commandment also. The law of love is two-fold and hierarchical.

Together, the love of God and the love of neighbors form the basis of the whole Mosaic Law and the core and heart of Christ’s life and teaching. Both commandments must be put into practice and lived out in their proper order.

Man must love God first, and then he must love his neighbors.
A person can’t love either God or neighbor, he cannot love one while excluding others.

No! A person is required to love both God and neighbor; love is not an either/or proposition. The person who truly and genuinely loves God must also love others, as all people are the summit of God’s creation, made in God’s image and likeness, and this is where our human dignity lies: to be created in the image and likeness of God.

It is such a profound thought that we’re created in the image of God! As followers of Christ, Our Lord and King, who is the perfect image of the Eternal Father, our love for Christ Jesus fulfill the twofold command of love as He is true God and true man.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our God as well as our brother, and with this in mind and heart, make Christ the love of your life, and He will be the life of your love.

God bless you,

Father Perez