The challenge of love

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost; 25 October 2020; Proper 25A (RCL)Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46.

All three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have some version of the Great Commandment (John has a new commandment — love one another as I have loved you). In Mark, a scribe asks Jesus about the greatest commandment and Jesus responds with love of God and neighbor. When the scribe says that Jesus has answered rightly, and that love is more important than all sacrifices, Jesus says that he (the scribe) is not far from the kingdom of God. In Luke, a lawyer asks Jesus what he must to do inherit the life of the ages. Jesus asks him what is written in the law, and the lawyer responds with the Great Commandment, but then wants to justify himself and asks “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus responds with the story of the Samaritan.

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What’s love got to do with it?

29 October 2017
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25A (RCL)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

I find it odd that Matthew ends his report of Jesus’ disputes with the religious authorities with something as uncontroversial as the question concerning the greatest commandment. This would have been standard fare among rabbinic Jews, and we have record of other rabbis addressing the question (granted, after the time of Jesus, but them Matthew is writing after Jesus, also), and coming up with the same answers. So, why would Matthew sum up these disputes with something so uncontroversial as the shema (Hear, O Israel), and the commandment to love neighbor as self? Continue reading “What’s love got to do with it?”