Fr Kieran Gardiner
Church in Horsham
Fr Kieran Gardiner
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This week's Gospel follows close behind the Gospel readings from last Sunday. It is the last of three
questions put to Jesus by Jewish religious leaders who are trying to trick him into saying something
that might get him arrested. This reminds us that the context for today's reading is the mounting
tension between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem.

The Herodians and the Pharisees asked the first question, which was about taxes. The Sadducees
asked the second question, which was about the Resurrection. The third question, considered in
today's Gospel, is asked by a Pharisee who asks Jesus about the greatest of the commandments.

The question requires Jesus to interpret the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law consists of the Ten
Commandments and many additional rules, numbering over six hundred. Adherence to the Mosaic
Law, for a devout Jew, is an expression of faithfulness to God's covenant with Israel. The ranking of
the Commandments was regularly debated among the teachers of the Law. Jesus answers the
Pharisees' question with a two-fold summary. Jesus says that all of the commandments can be
summarised in two commandments: love God and love your neighbour. Both of these were central
elements of the religious tradition Jesus learned from his Jewish community. Indeed these continue
to be central aspects of contemporary Jewish religious understanding. Jesus' response to his
questioners proposed an integral connection between these two aspects of the Jewish Law. Love of
God finds its expression in our love for our neighbour.