While it’s relatively unusual to read this particular Gospel as part of this particular liturgical week – given that All Saints which begins this evening usually bumps this reading – the words that Jesus says are very familiar. This is St. Mark’s account of Jesus giving the summary of the Law in response to a question from a scribe.
What Jesus says here by way of response isn’t unique. It is in keeping with other rabbinical tradition and that, in of itself, helps us Christians to remember that he was a Jewish person speaking to other Jews within a Jewish context. This lesson is less about something particularly Christian as it is about something that is shared by our common tradition.
Loving God is the greatest commandment – and loving our neighbor is like it. What I’m struck by is the word “love” as a verb here. It’s decidedly different that “fear” or “hold in awe” or “respect”. Love is, to my mind, something you do with another person, not with a thing or an idea. And that, in of itself, tells something about who God is, and what God is not.