Matthew 22:36-40 New Revised Standard Version
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
The reading from Matthew’s Gospel is called the Greatest Commandment. It is in this command from Jesus that calls us to love God and our Neighbor. However, the word love can be somewhat confusing. So, when one speaks about love what do they mean. The kind of love Jesus demonstrates, and asks us to embody is called agape love. Agape love is unconditional, selfless, and is self-sacrificing. Paul speaks about this type of love in Ephesians 5, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Another way to look at this type of love is to say that, “Agape love is always giving, and impossible to steal, or be a thief of it. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best, no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not.”
In the fast-paced society of a North American context how does one love? Is there time for a kind of love that is self-sacrificing, or does love in our context have limits to how far one can travel?
The greatest command given by Jesus is to love, love God and love neighbor, but can this type of love provide for us comfort, release, and joy currently? What do you think?