The great commandment to love God (Lk 10:27-10:27)

“The lawyer answered.

‘You shall love

The Lord,

Your God,

With all your heart,

With all your soul,

With all your strength,

And with all your mind.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου,

 

Luke said that the lawyer answered Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by citing Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5, where it said that you were to love the Lord, your God (Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου), with all your heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου), with all your soul (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου), with all your strength (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου), and with all your mind (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).  Mark, chapter 12:39-40, said that Jesus answered this Scribe, instead of the other way around as here in Luke.  The first commandment was “Hear this O Israel!  The Lord our God is one.  He should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, his whole mind, and with all his strength.  This Shema cry for Israel to listen can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-5.  These verses have had a great influence on the Israelites as the great commandment that was recited often and written all over the place on their hands, forehead, and door posts.  It was both a morning and an evening prayer, something you could say at home and when you were away from home.  The Israelites taught their children this simple prayer.  Jesus and the early Christian followers repeated this prayer in the gospel stories of the New Testament as the great commandment of love of God.  This “Shema” became the basis of the Abrahamic religions, the great commandment of monotheism and love that must always be remembered.  In Matthew, chapter 22:37-38, Jesus also responded, rather than the lawyer.  Jesus told this lawyer that he should love the Lord, his God with his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole mind   This was the greatest and the first commandment.  Just be a good human Jewish person and love God above all else with your whole being, heart, soul, and mind.  Do you totally love God?

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Self control (Sir 18:30-18:33)

“Do not follow

Your base desires!

Restrain your appetites!

If you allow your soul

To take pleasure

In base desire,

It will make you

The laughingstock of your enemies.

Do not revel

In great luxury!

You might become impoverished

By its expense.

Do not become a beggar

By feasting with borrowed money,

When you have nothing in your purse.”

Sirach reminds us that we should have self control. You should not follow your base desires, because you should restrain your various appetites. Do not let your soul take pleasure in these base desires. Otherwise, you will be the laughing stock of your enemies. Do not get caught up in luxuries. You might be impoverished by this attempt to enjoy luxury. Do not become a beggar by feasting on borrowed money, when you have nothing. Try a little self control.

The consequences of non-action (Prov 24:11-24:12)

“If you hold back from rescuing

Those taken away to death,

Those who go staggering to the slaughter,

What are the consequences?

If you say.

‘Look!

We did not know this.’

Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?

Will he not repay all according to their deeds?”

If you do not try to rescue someone from death, what are the consequences? They were staggering to their slaughter, what were you to do? Can you say that I did not know what was going on? This was the case at the time of the holocaust roundup. The excuse for non-action was I didn’t know. However, it is important to note that God, who weighs the heart, perceives this. He watches over your soul and knows it. He will repay you according to your deeds.

Keep wisdom (Prov 3:21-3:26)

“My child!

Do not let this escape from your sight!

Keep sound wisdom!

Be prudent!

They will be life for your soul.

They will be an adornment for your neck.

Then you will walk on your way securely.

Your foot will not stumble.

If you sit down,

You will not be afraid.

If you lie down,

Your sleep will be sweet.

Do not be afraid of a sudden panic!

Do not be afraid of the wicked attack!

Yahweh will be your confidence.

He will keep your foot from being caught.”

Once again, we are back at a parental admonition. We are to keep sound wisdom and prudence. Never let them out of your sight because they are the life of your soul. They are the decorations for your neck. You will then walk securely and not stumble. If you sit down, you will not be afraid. If you lie down, you will have a sweet sleep. Do not be afraid of a sudden panic or a wicked attack. Have confidence in God because he will keep your foot from getting caught in a trap.

Wisdom will save you from evil people (Prov 2:10-2:15)

“When wisdom comes into your heart,

Then knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Prudence will watch over you.

Understanding will guard you.

It will save you

From the way of evil.

It will save you

From those who speak perversely.

It will save you

From those who forsake the paths of uprightness.

They walk in the ways of darkness.

They rejoice in doing evil.

They delight in the perverseness of evil.

Their paths are crooked.

They are devious in their ways.”

Things will go better for you if you have wisdom in your heart. Your soul will be pleased with its knowledge, prudence, and understanding. On the other hand, wisdom will save you from evil ways and perverse speech. It will help you keep on the straight and narrow. Wisdom will keep you away from those who walk in darkness or do perverse evil on crooked paths in their devious ways.