Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Greatest of these is Love God

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
'He is One and there is no other than he.'
And 'to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself'
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Mark 12:28-34

Jesus knew more than anything the power of love. He loved all those he came across, even those who sought his downfall. He teaches us love.

The scribe didn't ask Jesus what all the commandments were, just what the first one was. This one scribe had the right understanding, that it is to love God first. And Jesus knew this better than anyone.

For us it is difficult to love this way. We have so very much in our lives that takes this away from us. In Jesus' time they didn't have all the electronics we have or cars to make travel easier. We have everything that they could have dreamed of to make life much simpler, yet Jesus was there to teach them love.

And now we too are learning by his example. We learn not to make what we have in our lives important. How is it that we have put him last after knowing that this is the first and greatest commandment. But we have throughout the years done exactly that. And now we are learning to put God first, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Once we grow-up and discover we are no longer children, and there is a world out there to explore. In our travels we meet so very many people who are seeking this love from us. A kind word, a warm smile, a gentle touch.

Loving God first is the greatest commandment, but it is a commandment of joy not one that is difficult to follow. This is one that is easy to obey because when we love God with every ounce of our beings we love beyond compare everything and everyone around us. What a treasure that is.

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