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Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time.  The reading is from the Gospel of Mark 12:28-34.

What is The Greatest Commandment? 

The Greatest Commandment – Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

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.”

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

This is an exchange between Jesus and a scribe who is impressed by the way in which Jesus has conducted himself in the previous controversy (Mark 12:1-27), who compliments Jesus for the answer he gives him

  • The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ (Mark 12:32)

Jesus in reply tells him

  • And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:34)

Matthew has sharpened that scene. The questioner, as the representative of other Pharisees, tests Jesus by his question (Matthew 22:34–35). But both his reaction to Jesus’ reply and Jesus’ commendation of him as found in Mark are lacking in Matthew.

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