Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pentecost 19a - Matthew 22:34-46

Matthew 22:34-46
It is a sign of our sinfulness that we sacrifice the second greatest commandment on the altar of the first. By that I mean we justify breaking the command to love neighbor as self if we believe the neighbor loves the Lord less than we do. Even theological next door neighbors are separated by mutual suspicion that their neighbor’s love of the Lord is either all mind and no heart or all heart and no mind or lacks the soul of service or the soul of morality or the soul of spirituality or the soul of (you fill in the blank).  And for those outside the neighborhood the convenient “love the sinner not the sin” allows us to hate both as sinners such as ourselves are incapable of distinguishing between the two. I know tough love has limits and lines must be drawn but Jesus does not qualify love of neighbor by how well one loves God and for good reason. The two greatest commandments are one. If you love God you love the neighbor God loves. If love your neighbor you love the God who loves your neighbor. The only ones who are required to love their neighbor as themselves are the ones who love God with their whole heart and mind and soul. The rest of us can go on hating the neighbors we don’t like.

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