The Lectionary readings for this Sunday invite
the Faithful to contemplate how to love
can be a command. Love can be a command, because God is wonderfully good,
certainly in a philosophical sense of ipsum
ens subsistens, self-sustaining being. Maybe I have studied more philosophy
than I could absorb. In any event, that God is good comes as a revelation through
Philosophical and theological knowledge that God is good is not enough. The ability to see enough to love God is a gift of Faith. Some people do not regard God as good, at all. Those people lack the insights of Faith required to overcome the negativity of life.
To begin by outlining the readings, Deuteronomy 6:2-6
contains the original command to love God. Psalm 18 exercises the command to
love with a song of praise. Hebrews explains the goodness of God in the person
Accepting the anthropomorphic problem that humans tend to make God in their own image, it still may be that humans are no more all good than is God. The issue is in human perception, rather than reality. God is wonderfully good, both in philosophical theory and in reality, if not in human perception. The point is, that as wonderful as God is, humans must still complement that goodness for that goodness to be effective at the individual human level.
Deuteronomy 6:2-6 is at the core of the human Jewish
faith. The details of the Jewish Torah specified both Deuteronomy 6:5 and
Leviticus 19:18. Deuteronomy is about love of God; Leviticus
about love of neighbor.
The Lectionary uses Leviticus 19:18 at Reading 79A, 7th Sunday
in Ordinary Time. Deuteronomy 6:5, used this Sunday, calls for total commitment.
The Jews took Deuteronomy 6:5, among others, put it on a scroll, and wore it as
Jews wore phylacteries on their left arms, perhaps giving rise to Christians as
“right-handers.” For Christians,
As might be expected from the well-versed
When Deuteronomy 6:4 records that, “the LORD is our God, the LORD alone!” Deuteronomy is testifying to monotheism. Deuteronomy means that there is no other God. In light of this fact, the Deuteronomist edited Sacred Scripture to replace love in its many faceted dimensions with the law. The Faithful have the Deuteronomist version of Sacred Scripture. The sense of incorporating love into religious regulations is an ongoing task, particularly as considered below in the matter of human sexuality.
While thinkers before the Eighteenth Century almost identified love with obedience, love is also spontaneous. Much of marital love is of spontaneity rather than rigidity. Sacred Scripture does invite the Faithful into spontaneous love of God.
The law of love does deserve explanation. Sacred
Scripture advances the issue, by explaining and interpreting itself.
Overland goes into detail about what “with one’s whole heart, whole soul, and whole strength” means. Depending on how it is used, heart can mean both emotions and intellect. Soul means desire. Strength is an interesting attribute. Strength means material wealth.
Psalm 18 is a song of praise.
As the Responsorial Antiphon puts it, “I love you, Lord, my strength.” (Psalm
Hebrews 7:23-28 is about
Though they may have worn the verse on their foreheads
and arms as phylacteries, the Pharisees had not let the law of love penetrate
their hearts enough to hear
Why not? Because the answers
Queer theory also gets involved with Mark 12:31, about
loving one’s neighbor.
More important than whether or not Salzman and Lawler are correct, is their explanation of the proper role of theologians vis-à-vis the Magisterium and the rest of the Church. With Salzman and Lawler, these Notes approach theologians as part of the “communion-church as a whole” trying to discern the will of God.
There is a difference between the command to love in
Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28 and Matthew 22:40. In
These readings are about love as a command of God.
Deuteronomy sets out the command, Psalm 18 exercises the command, Hebrews
explains the command, and
At a technical note, this is the first time these readings are explored. None of the Greek was translated. The Vulgate versification was entered into my copy of the Lectionary.
As another technical note, for more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 C. Clifton Black, review of George Keerankeri, S.J., The Love Commandment in Mark: An Exegetico-Theological Study of Mk 12:28-34, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 4 (October 2005) 716.
 Benedict XVI, “Encyclical Letter: Deus Caritas Est of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful on Christian Love,” http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclixals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html 1/30/2006 6/25.
Melody D. Knowles, “The Flexible Rhetoric of Retelling: The Choice of