Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus is approached by a group of Pharisees who want to trick him into saying something that would be in violation of Jewish Law. They ask him to choose one commandment out of the entire Jewish scriptures (what we call our Old Testament). Which of the commandments is the most important, they ask. There are over 600 commandments in the Jewish scriptures. How could one stand above all the others?
But Jesus doesn’t blink an eye. He answers with today’s passage: love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
As Jesus progressed into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday long ago, he went into the city with full knowledge of what was about to happen to him. In his obedience to his Father’s plan, he demonstrated powerfully how he loved God with all that was in him: all his heart, soul, and mind. And he showed his love of neighbor — his compassion for humanity — in his willingness to endure all that this Holy Week would encompass, ultimately going to the cross, giving everything he had to show us the depth of God’s love.
What actions can you take this Holy Week to deepen your love for God and for the people in your life?