CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 November 2017

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Whoever loves meets God

Hillel, a famous rabbi who lived a few years before Christ, once said, “What you do not like, don’t do to your neighbour! This is the whole Law; the rest is commentary.”
 
Philo, a Jewish contemporary of Jesus from Alexandria, summed up the Law as love of God and neighbour. So what is the novelty in the teaching of Jesus?
 
In the Great Commandment there are two parts. The first is the love of God, that must involve three faculties: the heart, the soul and the mind.
 
God, first of all, is to be loved with an undivided heart (with all the heart). Today there are believers, people in the Church, who fulfill all their religious practices, but at the same time worship their bank accounts, social position, honorary titles, career, power and  ambitions.
 
They have indeed divided hearts, they do not love with all their heart, as Jesus demands.
 
With all life (soul). The believer is required to have the willingness to sacrifice everything (money, interest, emotional ties and rights) and even have the courage to face martyrdom, while not failing in faith.
 
Loving God and trusting him can lead to, and it happens often, the need to make choices and heroic sacrifices.
 
With all your mind. Even the rational aspect is part of the love of God. Emotions cannot be the object of a commandment.
 
However, anyone interested in futility, who spends time with frivolous arguments, gossips about celebrities rather than studying the word of God, ignores theological and moral issues and does not investigate the rationale of faith, is less involved in the love of God.
 
After having stated what is the greatest commandment, Jesus adds that this is also the first. He makes this specification to introduce the second, which is like the first, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (v.39), and here the more apparent novelties begin.
 
What Hillel put negatively, Jesus tells positively, “So, do to others what you would that others do to you; there you have the Law and the prophets.”
 
The concluding statement, “The whole Law and the prophets is founded on these two commandments.” It should be taken as the criteria for evaluating.
 
All laws are good if they are an expression of love. They should be rejected if they oppose it, because they are a hindrance to the good of the people.
 
Later, Paul and subsequent New Testament authors would reduce the two into one Law, love of people.
 
“For the whole law is summed up in this sentence: You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).
 
Love cannot do your neighbour any harm; so love fulfills the whole Law” (Romans 13:8-10).
We know what it means to love others, even though it is not always easy to determine how to make it concrete. But how do we love God? 
 
The God of Jesus never asked anything for himself. He puts himself at the service of humankind, even to washing feet.
 
Hea asks us to do the same, “If such has been the love of God, we too must love one another” (1 John 4:11).
 
For love for people is love turned to God, because it is directed towards his image (Genesis 1:27).
 
Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/30th-sunday-in-ordinary-time-year-a-october-29-2017/