Scripture: Lectionary 487: Romans 13:8-10. Psalm 112:1-2.4-5.9. Luke
All the great saints of the past who are in the Bible ultimately come to
the inspired conclusion that the greatest commandment is love of God, love
of neighbor, and love of self. Actually they reduce everything to love. We
have seen in commentaries that Isaiah does this, Jesus, too, and Moses;
then the rabbis and the spiritual writers come to the same conclusion. In
I John we learn that the best way to talk about God is to say “God is love!
In Greek the best word for this love is “agape” and in Hebrew it is
Paul is our inspired writer and speaker for today and he states, “Love
never does wrong to the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law
(Torah or instruction). Paul goes on to say, “He who has loved his neighbor
has fulfilled the law.”
The Psalms are prayers and they often help us to pray over and over about
the meaning of the Scriptures for the day. When accompanied by music for
the refrain and sometimes the verses then we are praying twice. Our Psalm
for today, Psalm 112, is showing us how to love our neighbor and thus have
an experience of God’s love for God is love. Love is actually shown in
the psalm in a practical way as we meditate on the verses. To love one’s
neighbor is to be merciful, kind, generous, gracious or thankful, just and
concerned about helping those who are poor and hungry and homeless.
Jesus then gives us the supreme challenge of our love if we wish to be his
faithful disciples. The paragraph is very demanding of us but enables us to
share in the commandment of agape or perfect love. We sacrifice ourselves
for the other; we detach ourselves from selfishness in our relationships;
we give of our possessions freely and without a grudge. We go all the way
to enter into the sufferings of the Lord, into his death, and thereby taste
the fruit of love, Jesus’ resurrection. The bottom line in the portrayal
of Jesus in Luke’s gospel is that we have great concern for the poor
because we are so rich in Christ and his community of believers.
This section of Luke is among the more difficult ones in Luke and in the
sayings of Jesus. We must ponder over with discernment what it means to
take on this cost of discipleship; but in the end the commandment to love
one another will give us the greatest of joys. Amen.