I have much admiration for this scribe. We previously know that many of these scribes asked questions in order to test Christ. But this wise scribe came to Jesus asking exactly what matters the most to him. He knew that obedience to the commandments is one of the many ways to show God our love. And Jesus answers him in three parts:
1) God is one
2) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength
3) Love your neighbor as yourself
The Lord God is One, speaks regarding the Holy Trinity. Our Lord Jesus, starts with the idea of unity, which is the theme of His answer. Unity through love.
Then God shows the scribe how He wants all of us, 100% of our entire being. All of our hearts and desires, all of our souls and beings, all of our mind and thoughts, and all of our strength! He doesn’t just want us on Sundays, or even only during our prayer time. He desires a 100% dedication to Him with every ounce of our existence, without sharing us with anything or anyone else. The greatest commandment is full surrender to Him and His words. To fully burn for Him, with nothing holding us back. There are many areas in my life that I try very hard to keep away from Him. And this is His reminder for me that He wants my entire heart, soul, mind, and strength. To keep nothing hidden or away from Him. Making Him the One Lord and God over my entire being.
Our Lord then tells the scribe that the second is just as great, which is “love your neighbor as yourself.” Being created in the image of God, we can not fulfill the first commandment without fulfilling the second, and vice-versa, the two are inseparable. To truly love your neighbor, is to truly love the image of God without concern to how much our neighbor could’ve wronged us. It is easy to say “I truly love God”, but it’s a much harder task to say “I truly love all my neighbors”. This is why they’re equal and just as important.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” may sound as a simple concept. But love for oneself is becoming increasingly difficult to fathom. Many of us are either very hard on ourselves, or very proud of ourselves. We either put on a smiling mask in order to cover up the hideousness below, or we are on the opposite extreme, believing that we are the greatest. Orthodoxy is all about being equally balanced. Rabbi Simcha Bunim says “Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: “For my sake was the world created.” But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.”” Loving Him and His image is the key to that, forgiving ourselves and others (His image) is where it all begins. The planted seed of true forgiveness, blossoms as the flower of love.
Dedicating our hearts to Him and allowing His love to ignite through our hearts, brings us closer to Him and His Kingdom through the Eucharist. Only then do we become one with Him and the One body in perfect love and harmony. A taste of His Kingdom.
This is a great Quiet Time specially during valentine’s day. I pray that I could use today as a means to show love towards His image, and towards Him.