Today we have a Pharisee who is a scholar of the law engaging Jesus in conversation. Obviously, this scholar wasn’t really interested in Jesus’ point of view; he didn’t expect to learn anything from Jesus. Instead he was looking for Jesus to say something incongruent with their way of thinking so that they could brand him as a heretic and get rid of him.
But Jesus knows that. So what he gives this scholar, and all those who were listening in, was a very fair summary of the law and the prophets: love God and neighbor. And he does it in a way that is familiar to them. He quotes one of their most famous rules of life: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Every Jew memorized that as the greatest and first commandment, so his addition of loving neighbor wasn’t going that far beyond what they had been taught. And now they have nothing to say to him.
But what is important here is that these words are for us. All of our life needs to be centered around love. If love is what summed up the law and the prophets, it is certainly what sums up the Gospel. We too are called to love God who loved us first and loves us best. We too are called to put that love into action by loving others, every person we come in contact with. Some are easy to love, others not so much. But we are called to love them anyway.
How will we love others today?