“Which is the greatest commandment?”

Dear friends, it’s been a while, and I’m glad to continue our weekly reflection. This Sunday, the Church presents us with an important dialogue between the Pharisees and Jesus in Matthew 22:34-40. After Jesus responded to the Sadducees’ question about marriage at the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-33), the Pharisees sought to test Him with a different kind of inquiry. This time, they asked about the greatest commandment. In response, Jesus provides us with the most essential principles and values for life, emphasizing that the heart of God can be won by wholeheartedly loving both God and our neighbour.

According to Jesus, the two most important things in God’s rules are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This lies at the core of what it means to follow God.

Loving God goes beyond mere actions!

It involves fostering a holistic relationship that permeates every aspect of our lives. It means connecting with God with our entire being—our feelings, desires, thoughts, and actions. It’s akin to making friends with God on a deeper level.

Jesus stresses the significance of loving others as well. It’s not just about surface-level kindness but genuinely caring about people. The scripture encourages us to move beyond superficial gestures: “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). This challenges us to embody sacrificial love, considering others’ needs as important as our own and breaking down barriers: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

While it’s not always easy, Jesus challenges us to move beyond verbal expressions of care to tangible actions. It involves understanding others, being generous, empathetic, and working to bring people together instead of driving them apart. It’s like building bridges instead of walls.

Friends, today’s gospel serves as a guide for making good choices, prompting us to reflect on what truly matters in life and how our actions reflect our love for God and others. In a challenging world, today’s gospel provides a transformative roadmap for making a positive difference, spreading love, and improving our communities. Therefore, let us remember to love God and others not just in words but in how we live our lives every day: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

Happy Sunday 🤩

Fr. James Anyaegbu

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