Loving God in the neighbor

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles March 09,2018
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Loving God in the neighbor

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles March 09,2018
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Friday, March 9, 2018 3rd Week of Lent 1st Reading: Hos 14:2–10 Gospel: Mk 12:28–34

One of the teachers of the Law came up to Jesus and asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes another one: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.”

The teacher of the Law said to him, “Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”
Jesus approved this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life

Jesus considered one of the Teachers of the Law closer to the kingdom. That was because of his display of a certain level of understanding of the Law that disposed him to receive deeper teachings, such as the teaching on love of God and neighbor.

The man only asked what the greatest of all the commandments was. But Jesus answered by giving both the first (love of God, a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21) and the second (love of neighbor, a quote from Leviticus 19:18). Although biblical scholars say this was not an attempt to equate both, they acknowledge that the juxtaposition of love of God and love of neighbor was Jesus’ original creation.

While Jesus may not have intended to equate both, he must have intended to define one with the other, to the effect that without loving the neighbor one’s manner of loving God is not the way God wants to be loved. Similarly without loving God, one’s love for the neighbor is not the way a neighbor should be loved as child of God. Thus, while a philanthropist is not far from the kingdom, he enters into it only when he affords the neighbor a taste of love reserved for the gods. Similarly while one who loves God is not far from the kingdom, he won’t gain access to it until he substantiates love of God with love of neighbor. “Not all those who say “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 7:21).

Put it simply, it is active faith that takes one past the portals of heaven. A person who masters the first two commandments as the Teacher of the Law did will hover above the kingdom without touch-down rights. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.

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