Friday, 22 August 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

In today's gospel reading Jesus summarized the entire law of Moses and its ritual requirements (there are all in all 613 precepts of the Torah, being the books of the Old Testament containing the Law of Moses) into two simple yet profound Commandments: the first (found in Deuteronomy 6: 5) being "you must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength." and the second (found in Leviticus 19: 18) "you must love your neighbor as yourself".
It's interesting that these two commandments talk about love. Not service, submission, duty, finding of self, rejection of evil, etc., but love. IMHO Jesus is saying that the laws of God start with the fact that we must love God above everything else and the we must love our neighbors the same way we love ourselves. If we don't obey any other of God's laws with these two facts in mind then we break them all. But the Bible takes it further. Consider these verses:
1 John 4:8 - The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love
1 John 4:16 - God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him
1 Corinthians 13: 3 - If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.
The above verses make it impossible for anyone to be a Christian without love in his/her heart and actions.
So how do we love? The problem with human love is that it easily becomes obsessive, possessive and as easily ended. Think about it. What good can come from obsessive love? Possessive love? Love which is here today and gone tomorrow? None (at least not good that lasts forever). That's why we need to love like God, and the only way to do that is to ask Him to help us do so, to draw from the source of that love- Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God. Thus to interpret the two Commandments as something we must prove to God is simply not right. No way we could love like that. Rather we need to start our everyday Christian life with a freely-bestowed experience of love from God, a love which because it comes from God unites us to God, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others.


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