Jesus encapsulated the whole of religion in the reconciliation of love of God and neighbor.
Today’s readings can be found here.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” So begins today’s Gospel, with a question which was not a trivial matter for a pious Israelite, who had to keep more than six hundred commandments and prescriptions.
They seem to want a convincing summary from Jesus, and he provides it with his usual brilliance:
“He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.’”
Jesus encapsulated the whole of religion in the reconciliation of love of God and neighbor. Not two opposing loves, but two loves within each other. A God without reference to our neighbor is an invented god, and a neighbor without God is just a desperate person who remains that way.
In this sense, we too can understand where our faith stands by looking at how much good we want for the people around us. And we can also understand how much good we want for people by the time we invest in our deep relationship with God, which takes the name of prayer.
For those who pray do not essentially do a favor to themselves, but to others, because prayer does us so much good that those who meet us enjoy the light that dwells in us.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.