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Matthew [22:34-40] The Greatest Commandment Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 22,34-40. When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, …More
Matthew [22:34-40] The Greatest Commandment

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 22,34-40.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,
and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Benedict XVI

pope from 2005 to 2013
Encyclical “Deus caritas est ”, § 18 (trans. © copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

"Everything (...) depends on these two commandments"
There is a necessary interplay between love of God and love of neighbour (...). If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties”, then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper”, but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me. The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its real- ism and depth in their service to others. Love of God and love of neighbour are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others. Love grows through love. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).