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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

LOVE GOD, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE YOURSELF (MARK 12:28-34)

To speak about love, there is no need to select some special passage of Scriptures. Any page will extol love because all the commandments of Christ are acts of love or acts that lead to love.

Love renews and rejuvenates a person. As sin ages him, "I have grown old surrounded by my enemies," laments the psalmist.

But even in former times, there were people who loved God without thought of a reward and whose hearts were purified by their chaste longing for him. These are the ones whose main concern is the new covenant made by God with men. And so, this love was present even in the old covenant though love was more hidden and fear more apparent. But now, love is more apparent and fear hidden until such times when love becomes stronger that it casteth out fear.

The Pharisees came, not to learn but, to show their envy and their spite.

We must love God, Christ answered, not partially, but entirely: firstly, with our heart, secondly, with our soul, and, thirdly, with our minds. The mind is the rational part of men. So we must love God with all the parts of the body and all the powers of the soul.

The first command, to love God, is a training in piety. The second command, to love our neighbor, is to train us to do to other men what is just and right. There are two things that lead to perdition; evil doctrines, and a corrupt life. We must love God so as not to fall into unholy doctrines. We must love our neighbor so as no to live a corrupt life.

He who loves his neighbor fulfills all the commands, and he who fulfills all the commands loves God. See how these two commands are welded one to the other. He who steals or bears grudges or commits adultery or murders or fornicates, hates his neighbor; and he who hates his neighbor does not love God.

The lawyer was one who used his head. He went to trap Jesus but because he was using his head, upon hearing the answers of Christ, he changed his ways. Thus, Christ's compliment: "Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven."

St. Augustine, Sermo 350A, 1-2: PLS 2, 449-450

 

 

 

 

 

(11-27-02)

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