Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matthew 22:34-40)
Soon Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are going to be tested. They will answer reporters’ questions meant to trip them up. Both presidential candidates will try to appear unflappable. If they fail to appear in control, they will lose the confidence of voters. Jesus finds himself in a similar situation in today’s gospel.
The passage begins with the declaration that Jesus has successfully countered the challenges of the Sadducees or priestly tribe. Now the Pharisees take a last shot at him. A scholar among them asks Jesus to name the greatest commandment. Will he give the first commandment directing humans not to worships idols? Or might he dare to talk about love of enemy as being all important? Jesus keeps his priorities in line. First, humans are to love God. Then their love of God is to overflow in love for neighbor as much as one loves oneself. There is no more to be said. Jesus has successfully fended off the attack of wits.
We should never deceive ourselves into thinking that one can love one’s neighbor without loving God. Sooner or later such a love will disintegrate because it lacks the font of love which is God Himself. It would be like trying to watering a garden without a connection to the water supply.