Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: which commandment, greatest, love, The whole law
To the point: By asking “which commandment in the law is the greatest,” the Pharisees reveal an attitude toward law far different from that of Jesus. Instead of limiting the demand of the law as the Pharisees do to discrete commandments that are kept or not, Jesus teaches that the demand of the law embraces the totality of our relationships with God, self, and neighbor. Love defines our relationships; love is the wellspring of obedience to any commandment. Love is the greatest commandment because it truly is the whole Law of God.
Connecting the Gospel …
… to the First Reading: God has shown Israel how to love: God rescued Israel from being aliens themselves in a foreign land, God hears the cry of “the widow or orphan” and “poor neighbors” in need.
… to experience: Sometimes what we owe to God can put us in conflict with the civil authority, for example, conscientious objection to war, policy decisions concerning poverty and environment, etc. When conflicts arise, is it Caesar or is it God we serve?
**From Saint Louis University