8 June 2017
The scribe asked Jesus about only one commandment, the “first” of all the commandments. But Jesus spoke about two of them: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. And maybe, by doing that, the Lord is saying that the two are inseparable. There is a “first” and a “second” commandment, but they necessarily go together.
We can’t profess to love God, and yet hate our neighbor in the same breath (because there is no hate within God). And, in a similar way, we can’t really love our neighbor without first loving God (because God shows us how to love rightly). And so, we can say to the Lord what the scribe did: “Well said, teacher. You are right” in keeping these two commandments together as one.
Now we just have to keep them together in our own lives, today. It takes practice, of course. And we’ll spend our whole lives trying to keep those two commandments together: love of God and love of neighbor. But the more we can do it, the more we’ll hear Jesus say to us, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”