Choose your language EoF

Gospel for Sunday, Oct. 25: Matthew 22: 34-40


34Then the Pharisees, having heard that he had shut his mouth to the Sadducees, gathered together 35and one of them, a doctor of the Law, questioned him to test him, 36“Teacher, in the Law, what is the great commandment?” 37He answered him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39The second then is similar to that, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Mt 22:34-40

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

Pharisaic Judaism, in its Hillelite current, admitted both the faculty of a hierarchy of prescriptions, distinguishing them into “light” and “serious” ones (Mt 5.19; 23.23), and the possibility of summarizing the whole Law in a single “great precept” (“kelal gadol”). This type of question was normal in rabbinical discussions. This is why a doctor of the Law asks Jesus what was “the first” (Mt 22,34-40), “the greatest” (Mk 12,28-31) commandment, the one necessary “to have eternal life” (Lk 10.25-28). Jesus responds by quoting the command of the “Shema’”, the “Listen, O Israel” (Dt 6.5), which imposed love towards God, only by replacing “with all the strength” of his text with the phrase “with all the mind” (“dianoia”). So far, a position unassailable by the Pharisees.

But Jesus immediately goes further, stating that there is “a second commandment similar to the first” (22.39), that of loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Only Matthew adds that not only the Torah, but also the whole of prophecy, that is, the whole of the Old Testament, as well as two they support a door.

Jesus then taught that “the greatest and first of the commandments” was, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” but that the second was “similar to the first : you will love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22,37-38); indeed, in Mark it is said: “There is no other commandment (editor’s note: in the singular) more important than these” (Mk 12.31), and Luke presents them as a single imperative (Lk 10.27).

The novelty of Jesus’ statement consists in having placed Lev 19.18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” on the same level as Dt 6.5: “You shall love God with all your heart”. That is, Jesus presents the two commandments as if they were in reality only one. “The association of the two precepts of love… is an evangelical fact without parallels in Judaism” (A. Mello).

Paul concludes: “Any other commandment is summed up in these words: «You shall love your neighbor as yourself»… The full fulfillment of the law is love” (Rom 13.9-10); “In fact, the whole Law finds its fullness in one precept: «You shall love your neighbor as yourself»” (Gal 5,14); “Above all, let love be, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).

The “new commandment” of mutual love is the only translation of the command to love God: God in fact wants to be loved in man: “If anyone says: “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar. Indeed, anyone who does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see” (1 Jn 4:20); “If anyone has riches in this world, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how can the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3.17); “As often as you did these things to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Mt 25,40.45).

Christians now have a “new commandment” which must make them recognized among all men, love each other (Jn 13.34): this is the only criterion of ecclesiality proposed to us by Christ: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Fraternal love also opens us to Faith in God: “Whoever loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love” (1 John 4.7-8): many times our Faith is weak precisely because we do not love; by loving, we can obtain “knowledge” of God, that is, enter into his intimacy: let’s remember this when we are in a “crisis of Faith”…

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like