“Bible Corner” — In today’s Gospel (from Matthew) we hear Jesus reply to being questioned about the greatest commandment of the law. He doesn’t hesitate. He says ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Then he goes on to speak of the second, “You must love your neighbour as yourself”. The same question is posed in Mark’s Gospel chapter 12 with the answer in verses 29 to 31 (12:29-31) except Mark has one more attribute attached to the first one; He adds strength to heart, soul and mind. It is present in Luke (Luke 10: 25-28) but the dynamic is different. In Luke a lawyer stands up and asks the question ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answers the question with two questions: ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ The lawyer’s answer incorporates the two great commandments — ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’
The three synoptic Gospels share something important In the life of Jesus and there are little differences in the way they present the same thing. It happens regularly enough throughout the Gospels. They are linked as well to the Old Testament. We go back to Moses in the book of Deuteronomy. In chapter 5 we read an account of God giving the ten commandments. After that Moses tells the heads of tribes and elders what else the Lord had said to him and that God gave him laws and commandments for When they reached the Promised Land. In chapter 6 he tells them what he was told and in verses 4 and 5 we read: ‘Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh. You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let the words I enjoin on you today stay in your heart.’ This is how Moses, who Passes God’s law to the people of Israel, begins his discourse on the Law and which Luke s lawyer recognises as the greatest law. In response to his answer Jesus says to him, ‘You have answered right, do this and life is yours.’
This is one of the great examples of the connection of the Old and New, one completing the other and the essence present in both. Love God and our neighbour.