Year A: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 22: 34-40
The conversation between Jesus and His adversaries continues. The Gospel accounts have left out the discussion with the Saducees referred to in today’s Gospel - where Jesus is faced with a hypothetical dilemma - what would happen if a woman was married 7 times - whose wife would she be in heaven?
Jesus replies by pointing out that eternal life is in a different league from earthly life - and marriage is not an issue there.
The Pharisees - who, unlike the Saducees, did believe in life after death - pose a question about the Law which they cherished above all things.
It is another situation where there are many more wrong answers than right ones: which is the greatest commandment of the Law.
Even then, there were books and traditions and proverbs which illustrated the fullness of the Law - and how each commandment had within it many hidden depths.
Jesus answers with utmost simplicity - taking His listeners right back to the origins of the Law in the Book of Deuteronomy. There - beyond the 10 commandments, the Hebrew people are given two - upon which the whole of the rest of Jewish Law is built..
Love God with the whole of your being - and love your neighbour as you love yourself.
If anyone lives their life in accord with these two - they will automatically keep the whole of the rest of the Law.
Needless to say, His answer confounds the Pharisees - though, unfortunately, it does not convince them of a wisdom that it is of God and not some human thinking.
It is good for us in our day to be reminded of the underlying simplicity of living in the Kingdom. We can often lose sight of the truth - or find ourselves caught up in worrying about details of belief and forget that before all else we are called to love - to love God and to love our neighbour - and where such a commitment is made - the rest almost always follows naturally.
What does it mean for me?
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