The Great Law of Love

Matthew 22: 34-40
Ruth 1:1-22 / Psa 146

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.
(Matthew 22: 37, 39)

Love’s model can be no other
Than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ;
What love on earth can be greater
Than off’ring His life as sacrifice?

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, a scholar in the law, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole Law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

Reflection

Loving God and neighbor: this, in a nutshell, is what our existence in this world is all about. And it is significant to note that it was an expert in the law who asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Because love is not only the greatest of all the commandments of God, but is the very reason for all His laws. When we deliberately fail or refuse to love another, we are therefore breaking the greatest law of God.

“In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey His commandments” (1Jn.5:2). Christian love is not the same as what the world understands it. Human love is primarily an emotional response to a person who is loveable or has endearing qualities. This kind of love is characterized by our freedom of choice, and the lover is not subject to any obligation. The kind of love that Christ teaches us, however, involves not merely an emotion, but a commitment of will, mind and the entire being of a person. And it is all-encompassing, and not selective. Jesus said, “If you (only) love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt.5:46-48)

Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like her Son, Jesus, our Blessed Mother Mary exemplified the kind of love that leads to perfection. Hers was a love shown in total obedience to God’s will. Exceeded only by the love of her Son, Jesus, which entailed a greater sacrifice of complete self-giving and humility on the cross, she nonetheless submitted in total surrender, even if she was confused and bewildered by the message of the Angel Gabriel. She simply said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk.1:38). With great sacrifice, she travelled some distance to her cousin Elizabeth to assist her in the pregnancy of her old age. This, we believe is the reason why God the Father exalted her, and made her Queen of heaven and earth.

Father God, we know it requires much discipline to obey Your command to love perfectly, as we can never love as much as You and Your Son have loved us. But we believe that through the grace of Your Holy Spirit, we may be able to acquire the will to follow Your loving ways, and so we pray fervently for this favor in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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