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