Sunday 4 November: “To love God and neighbour”

Today we reflect on the commandments or the law of God.  In the Gospel we hear how a scribe – who was a respected leader in the Jewish community, tests Jesus by putting this question to him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”Jesus replies with the words of the great commandment “Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…you must love your neighbour as yourself” – emphasising that there is no more significant commandment. The scribe is impressed with his teaching of Jesus on the law, and further adds that to love in this way is greater that any sacrifice. Jesus endorses the wisdom of the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” and we are told that his authority was accepted “no one dared to question him any more”.

The teaching of Jesus as addressed to the whole community of Israel, mirrors the teaching of Moses on the Commandments of God in the first reading: “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart”. Moses tells the people they will have a long life and will prosper and increase in a “land where milk and honey flow” if they keep the God’s laws.

In teaching the great commandment of love, Jesus assures us that by living in union with God and one another, we can fully live out our Christian vocation more in happiness and joy. We are renewed in God’s love each time we receive Communion, which makes us united with Christ but also strengthens our relationship with each other. It is Christ who unites us to God the Father, and God who created us in his image and likeness loves us unconditionally and invites us to remain in his love.

“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)