WEEK TWENTY – FRIDAY – AUGUST 20, 2021 – THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT (Mt 22:34-40)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I want to love you with all my heart and soul. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking with this good-willed scribe.

Context:

This scribe is not hostile. His question is sincere. He searches for the most important commandment. Jesus quotes the great prayer which he himself recited each day. This had brought the scribe close to Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

One of the scribes asked Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied: “This is the first: ‘Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 

And the second is like to it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.’” The scribe said to Jesus, “Excellent Teacher, you are right in saying, ‘He is one and there is no other than He. Yes, to love him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourself is worth more than any burnt offering and sacrifice.’” Jesus approved his answer and told him, “You are not far from the reign of God.” And no one had the courage to ask him any more questions. 

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. This scribe comes with a docile spirit. His question is fair and he accepts Jesus answer. 
  2. To emphasize this total consecration to God alone, Jews multiply images – heart, mind, will, strength. 
  3. Jesus adds a surprise. To this great commandment (known by all), he adds a second command, to love our neighbor. 
  4. In these two commands, Jesus has summed up his whole gospel. 
  5. The scribe agrees. Loving God and neighbor are more important than even temple sacrifices. 
  6. The scribe is close to the Kingdom. Now, he needs only to believe that Jesus is Messiah and Lord. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.) 

  • O Jesus, I consecrate myself to you – heart and mind, soul and strength. Anything less is unworthy of you. 
  • O Jesus, give me a spirit docile to your commands. 
  • O Jesus, when you enter my heart so does the whole world. Everyone becomes my neighbor. 
  • You loved totally – even to your death on the cross. 
  • Love is a total immolation. O Jesus, I offer you my heart. 
  • You are love, Jesus. I choose you as the bridegroom of my soul. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

+ I will set aside time today for God alone. 

+ I will love my neighbor in thought, word and deed. 

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is Lord alone.