Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
This text is so familiar that we tend to ignore its radical meaning. To love God above all else and give to God all our heart, mind, soul, and strength means that we are totally involved, totally given to God beyond all else. Not an easy thing. And then even more demanding, “the second is like this”! Jesus expects that love for God and love for the neighbor go together. He connects them as one great commandment. Neither of them is to be ignored. Love for God is the source of love for the neighbor; by showing our love for the neighbor, we demonstrate our love for God. To love ones neighbor means to refuse to accept the divisions erected between us. It means to show our love as truthfully as we can, and let our actions support our words.
Love one another
Put this text into the context of our present times. What is being commanded? What is being asked?
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Not all of us can do great things but we can do small things with great love.
Love to one’s neighbor corresponds to the mandate and the example of Christ if it is based on a true love of God. It is thus possible for the Christian, through his dedication, to make others feel the tenderness of God.
I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?
Martin Luther King Jr.
If you wish to befriend someone, look for a person who loves first God then themselves. If they love God, they will be able to love their neighbor, too.
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.