To be Bearers of Love in our World
The question posed in today’s Gospel requires Jesus to interpret the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law consists of the Ten Commandments and many additional commandments, numbering into the hundreds. For a devout Jew, adherence to the Mosaic Law is an expression of faithfulness to God’s covenant with Israel. The ranking of these commandments was regularly debated among the teachers of the Law. Jesus was not the only Jewish religious teacher to connect these two commandments, love of God and love of neighbour. Both of these commandments were central elements of the religious tradition that Jesus learned from his Jewish community. Indeed, these commandments continue to be central aspects of contemporary Jewish religious understanding. Jesus’ response to his questioners proposed an integral connection between these two aspects of the Jewish Law. Love of God finds its expression in our love for our neighbour. Many believe, however, that this connection was heard in a new and fresh way when spoken by Jesus.
The scribe who questions Jesus in today’s Gospel engages in a positive dialogue with Jesus. He agrees with Jesus’ teaching that the commandments to love God and love neighbour stand above the commandment to offer worship and sacrifice in the Temple. True religion is that, and is especially true when it cares for the needy. Jesus’ heart went out mostly to people like that in his own time, especially any group who were outcast like people suffering from leprosy. When we love, in the smallest and biggest ways, among the family, neighbourhood and wider world, then we are religious in the name of Jesus. This is the meaning and the reason for the Christian community – to be bearers of love in our world.