When I was in law school, I used to read dozens of laws daily. One would often see me busy, reading and preparing for my evening law class at the library, the whole day. As a law student, I was expected not just to familiarize, but also to memorize the very texts of different laws.
One night, exhausted from my school workloads, I pondered if there was truly a need to memorize all the laws we were studying. Then I noticed a billboard stating “Just Love” – a Christmas slogan of one of the television networks. The billboard seemed to answer my question: memorizing the provisions of the law was unnecessary if everyone in the society loves one another. My professor told me that laws were enacted to prevent chaos in the community. They serve as a norm of conduct for citizens. Without the laws, there would be chaos in society. I told myself that laws were unnecessary if only people were living in Love.
In the Gospel today, the Pharisees ask Jesus about the greatest commandment of the law. The answer of Jesus is very clear, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Instead of citing all other crucial commandments, He summarizes everything to loving God and loving our neighbors. The two commandments are inseparable. Someone cannot love God without loving his neighbor. By loving God, it means that we need to serve our neighbors. Hence, our duty in society is not simply to follow the laws but to love God and our neighbors – the greatest commandment of all.
By: Sem. Arjay A. Ligamzon
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.”