Matthew 22:34-40 for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Today’s Gospel bothers to tell us the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees.
The Sadducees were doctrinal enemies of the Pharisees.
So, the Pharisees went to test the doctrine of Jesus.
It seems the Pharisees did not want only to defeat Jesus, but also to show themselves better than their doctrinal enemies, the Sadducees.
The Pharisee question was not hard.
Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?
Jesus did not give a surprising answer.
But surprises came as he went on straightaway to give a bigger answer than the question needed, a bigger answer that left the Pharisees no room for more questions.
To love the Lord, your God, with all your being is the greatest commandment, but Jesus added the detail that it is the first commandment.
Then he added there is a second greatest commandment, that is, to love your neighbor as yourself.
These two commandments sum up the Ten Commandments.
However, Jesus went still further, and said: The WHOLE law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.
With that, he doctrinally bested, defeated and silenced both the Sadducees and their doctrinal enemies the Pharisees.
He has named the first and second greatest commandments.
However, he has also shown that these two commandments carry the WHOLE law of God and the WHOLE word of God that came through the prophets of the Lord God.
The answer of Jesus contained the WHOLE Word of God.
For the Pharisees to question further would have been to call into question the WHOLE word of God.
The WHOLE word of God— and the Gospel tells us the Word was God, and became flesh.
Jesus is the God the Word, but now he is also Human.
Forever without beginning or end, he is the Word that is God, but now he is also the Word that is Humanity made WHOLE.
So, the first and second greatest commandments that Jesus names about love of God and love of neighbor are commandments that tell us about Jesus himself.
First, he loves the Lord— God his Father— with all his being.
Second, he loves us, his neighbors, as he loves himself.
Here in his Eucharistic Body and Blood, Christ hands over his whole being— heart, soul, mind and body— to his Father.
That is the first and greatest thing that is true about the Body and Blood of Christ: they belong to the Father first of all.
Secondly, the Eucharistic Gift that belongs to the Father is shared with us, the earthly neighbors of Christ, thus bringing us into communion with the Father.
To dare step forward and dare take this Gift is to volunteer to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and to volunteer to love your neighbor as yourself.
Turn. Love. Repeat.