The dialogue of the scribe who asks Jesus which is the most important commandment, in both Mark and Matthew, takes place after the dispute with the Pharisees and the Herodians, who wanted to trap him. But only Mark notes the scribe's astonishment: "One of the scribes, who had heard the discussion, came up and, seeing how well he had answered them, asked him.". He is conquered by the wisdom of Jesus, by the truth revealed with clarity and gentleness to those who want to put him to the test: Jesus always tries to win his interlocutors for the good.
He asks: "Which is the first of all the commandments?". In his response, Jesus makes a revolution: he takes the precept of loving God above all things from the Shema 'Isra'elwhich the pious Israelite repeated three times a day, and links it with the precept "you shall love your neighbor as yourself", of Leviticus. The question was which is the first of the commandments, and the answer is that the first... there are two. Love of God is forever merged with love of neighbor. In John's gospel, the love of God is in how Jesus loves us and becomes the measure of brotherly love: "As I have loved you, so also love one another."When we love one another truly and "to the end," as he loved us, we make present the love of God. Jesus thus avoids the possible spiritualistic error of those who think that it is enough to love God, but without loving our brothers and sisters. "He who does not love his brother, whom he sees, cannot love God, whom he does not see. This is the commandment we received from him: whoever loves God, let him also love his brother." (1 Jn 4:20-21). The heart of our faith is the love of God and neighbor, always united. To love God alone is not enough. The love of God always pushes us towards our brothers and sisters, and the love of our brothers and sisters makes us discover the love of God among us: "No one has seen God, but if we love each other, God remains in us and his love reaches its perfection in us." (1 Jn 4:12).
The words of Leviticus, which Jesus rephrases, contain a third commandment linked to the first two: self-love. "Self-love constitutes a fundamental principle of morality." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2264). It is necessary to love how God has created us, to love our way of being, our uniqueness, and to respect it in others. To have self-esteem and to believe in the mission that each of us received from God when we were thought of and placed in the world. Thus, by loving ourselves and God's plan for us and the path of sanctification that the Holy Spirit works in us in a unique way, we will be able to love others in their uniqueness of creation and sanctification, where the Holy Spirit is never repeated.
Homily on the readings of Sunday XXXI
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.