The Jews had over six hundred rules, regulations and laws. It was a common practice at that time to try and condense them into a more user-friendly set. But there was little agreement amongst the scholars and priests. This exceptional scribe, who had bought into the wisdom of Jesus by appreciating His skill in the Scriptures, knows He will have the answer and merely wants to hear it. So do we!!
Our Lord quotes Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 and Leviticus 19: 18 to give the concise version. It emphasises that God is sovereign and is in charge of all humanity. It stresses that we must first love God. The second emerges from our love for God and not the other way around!
This command to love God and neighbour (even hostile ones) is not a suggestion, recommendation or advice. It is a Christian imperative. We may very well ask how we can be commanded to love as this sounds quite difficult. In the same way that God’s love is one of immense energy with the capacity to change people and things (creation is but an expression of this energy), this command tells us to direct whatever energy we have to the purpose of fulfilling the directive. We do not have to feel this love as we do with filial, friendly or spousal love where we get something out of it, perhaps emotional happiness. No, this is a love of sacrifice where we expect nothing in return, but rest assured, the joy and peace that comes from its pursuit will permeate our entire being.
Without a drastic change in your life, work on tweaking what you do and say and think each day to comply with these divine instructions.
Father give me the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to love as Jesus did. Amen.