25 Oct 2020. Cycle A-2020. 30th Sunday OT. Ex 22:20-26 + 1Th 1, 5c-10 + Mt 22:34-40

According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is, “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 commandment is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:36-40).

The first commandment reiterated the Shema (cf. Dt 6:4-9), while the second commandment reiterated the Golden Rule (cf. Mt 8:12).

Jesus concluded, “The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Mt 22:40; cf. Lk 10:25-27).

Paul further summarized the law in just one word: LOVE. “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence love fulfills the law” (cf. Rom 13:9-10). Love yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love God above yourself.

The Pharisees were too preoccupied with too many little things—the laws—that they have lost sight of the one big thing—the Law.

The Halakha, more commonly known as Code of Jewish Law, included 613 commandments. That looks too many to remember, but consider that the Halakha number is very few compared to a country’s laws that numbers by the thousands, each one written in hundreds of pages.

With tons of pages to sift through, it is not surprising that a deliberated action can be judged legal or illegal depending on the ability of lawyers to combine laws they ever find. Does anybody wonder why laws tear us apart rather than bind us together?

Remembering the Law does not need the cloak-heavy mnemonics employed by scribes and Pharisees. Availing of the Law does not need the interpreting skills flaunted by lawyers and jurists. God rewrote the Law in our heart—the seat of love. He did not write in our brain—the seat of intellect (cf. Jer 31:33-34). VSS

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