When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Today is Friday, 23 August, in the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time.
The community of Taizé sing Wait for the Lord. ‘Wait for the Lord, his day is near. Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
This story takes place at a point in Jesus’ life when the forces of death are gathering round him, a series of confrontations with the people who are threatened by him and are, as we already know, going to have him killed. The question about “the greatest commandment” could be lethal; the wrong answer could lead to accusations of blasphemy or infidelity to the Law. Why do you think the lawyer is said to “test” Jesus?
What kind of answer might he have been hoping for, if he wanted to trap Jesus?
Do people today sometimes use religion in this aggressive way?
Listen again to the reading, and just ask yourself: what is the one thing that really matters in life, according to this text?
Would it make a difference to our society if we were to make that one thing our guiding principle? And suppose you were to try it in your life today, what difference would it make?