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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Matthew 22:34-46, Proper 25A, Pentecost +19, October 23, 2011,

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:34-46 NRSV 

Just two commandments after the Sadducees had learned all 613 and could quote them all by number back to Jesus? 
Sure, love God, love neighbor. But who is my neighbor? That is answered in Luke 10 by the parable of the Good Samaritan.The one who shows mercy is the neighbor.
Perhaps the hardest commandment of all is loving the neighbor when the neighbor is not lovable, showing mercy to those who do not show mercy. Yet this is the benchmark of Christianity, the "hinge" upon which all hangs. 

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