I asked the boys two days ago…What is the first and greatest Commandment?

3rd quarter of 16th century

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  (Mark 12:29-31)

Observation:  It was yesterday morning that my 13 year old son woke up saying that he was pretty sure he had figured out how he could wear Nike clothes every day of the week.  Keep in mind, it is truly by the grace of God and my Mother’s generosity that he has any Nike clothes at all.  So, I was prompted to ask both my 13-year-old, Chad, and my almost 10-year-old son, Kobe, “What is the first and greatest Commandment?”  The answer from Chad was, “Uh, I don’t know.”  The answer from my 10-year-old was, “Isn’t it, thou shall not kill?”  Answer, no.  He followed up with, “Isn’t it, you should love God alone, and have no other gods besides him?”  Answer, yes.  They didn’t answer the question like Jesus, but I guess at least they got to it eventually.

Personification:  Faithfulness  In reflecting on the events of the other morning, and remember the words of Father Daniel’s homily on Wednesday night at Mass, I realize that to display the fruit of faithfulness, I must do a better job passing the faith on to my children.  I have been blessed with four beautiful children, and I need to remember that the best way to give glory to God and to thank Him for entrusting me with them, is to make sure that they are directed to follow His will for them.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I cannot remember to follow Your will for me without being constantly reminded by Your grace that I receive from the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, so I hope that I will remember to constantly remind my children of the grace that can save us all.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.


4 thoughts on “I asked the boys two days ago…What is the first and greatest Commandment?

  1. Jason – They did great! And you did too! We have 5 boys, between 5 and 17 y.o. This is the hardest part of may faith walk by far… sharing authentically with them. I want to teach, lecture, and control… Jesus wants to give His heart to them. Deep down, there is a little Pharisee in me that wants to take some part in their salvation, even if it is just a little bit… hopefully that little Pharisee stays out of the way long enough for the Spirit to get a hold of them. For His Glory, Vince

    • I pray that I can stay out of the way too, not just for my boys, but my wife and daughter too. It was easier when I didn’t care, but life was never fulfilling like it is now…God bless you!

  2. Which is the most important?
    Jesus was asked twice, by two different men, the same basic question about which is the most important or greatest commandment in the Law. Here is how Jesus answered that question:

    “One of the teachers of the law… asked him [Jesus],
    ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    …an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But in contrast with Jesus, Paul the Pharisee didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    .2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- to love people.

    This is very similar to The Beatles- “All you need is love. Love is all you need. Love, Love, Love.” (In other words, the second commandment, the love of man, without the love of God. Love as me, myself and I define love to be, and continuously redefined by sinful men.)

    In essence, it is also the same principle as what Eve did in the Garden of Eden, forgetting about the Tree of Life, which is the first tree in the middle of the Garden, and instead referring to the second tree as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” [Genesis 3:3 & 2:9 2:17, 3:24]

    Kind of like the Pharisees with Jesus, who were pushing the false idea that we can consider ONE commandment in the Law, alone in isolation, to be “the greatest commandment in the Law.”

    Or like today, false teachers in the Chrislam – Purpose Driven – Seeker Sensitive – Emergent – Liberal – Ecumenical – New Age – world church movement pushing the false idea that the ONE RULE is “Loving God and Neighbor together.”

    The Lord God Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, said:
    “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.”
    Not one. TWO.

    Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.

    Here are answers to 2 common objections:
    .a) What about the so-called “Golden Rule”?
    Jesus spoke the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, including 7:12. Jesus didn’t make PART of this one verse out of context into “The Golden Rule” or “one rule.” Jesus did not use the term “Golden Rule,” it’s simply a tradition of men. The sentence begins with “So” in the NIV and Amplified Bibles, and “Therefore’ in the NASB and King James Bibles, which ties 7:12 to the previous sentences. So 7:12 cannot stand alone as One Commandment.

    .b) What about the so-called “Great Commission”?
    Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, including “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus never used the term “Great Commission,” it’s simply a tradition of men. Yes I agree it’s a commandment given by Jesus, it’s not optional, and it applies to us today. We need to carry this out, with our own God-given abilities and talents, using the skills, and circumstances we have. But we don’t need to put words in the mouth of Jesus, we can let Jesus speak for himself, and we can listen to Him – and obey Him.

    Evangelism is part of the Second Commandment given by Jesus, to Love people. Evangelism is not the most important commandment, and it isn’t the entire Second Commandment. So if our priorities are “The Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” we have our priorities upside down and confused, and we are not listening to the voice of Jesus. Never mind what Paul said. Let’s listen to the voice of Jesus first, and get our priorities straight.

    The people who will protest most loudly against this truth are the modern “Pauls:” traveling evangelists, speakers, writers, abusive absentee mega-church pastors, Crusaders, and self-appointed “apostles” like Paul, who find it “profitable” to “be like Paul” rather than follow Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

    • Matthew,

      I can’t see anything that I disagree with in your comment, but I would stop short of accusing others of not accepting the whole message of Jesus and being followers of “Paul” rather than followers of Jesus. I know that I still fail in my understanding of my faith and I lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the truth that is necessary in every situation that requires wisdom. It is a free gift of grace that we have been given and I pray that more Christians, including myself, continue to lean on His mercy, love and grace to fulfill the mission that we are given by nature of our Baptism. God speed in your ministry and keep up the good work.

      God bless you,


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