The Essence of the Law

“The Essence of the Law”
Mark 12:28b-34 “in a snailshell”
Sunday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

One of the scribes came to Jesus and 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.

Mark 12:28b-34

Love is the Law from Aleph to Tav
For our neighbors and heavenly Av.

“Aleph to Tav” is the Hebrew equivalent of “A to Z,” the first (א) and last (ת) letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Tav is pronounced “Tahv.”

Jesus had the greatest reverence for the law handed to Moses, a gift from a loving God to his people to guide them in building a just and merciful society.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Matthew 5:18

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of a letter of the law to become invalid.

Luke 16:17

The Ten Commandments, and all directives dependent on them, can be summed up in the single precept of love for God and neighbor: “For our neighbors and heavenly Av.”

Av” (pronounced “ahv”) means Father in Hebrew. In the New Testament, Jesus called his Father “Abba,” which is the intimate, familial form of Av.

Christ is the law of love enfleshed. 

2 Replies to “The Essence of the Law”

  1. Dear GMC, Your reflection today is an “Aha” moment for me. I finally realize that the journey to wholeness that we are on with you is not just about self. It’s about our whole Judaeo Christian tradition and journeying to wholeness there. It’s about the relationship between God’s covenant with Israel and the New Covenant. It’s about what binds us, more than about what separates us. And, yes, here it comes, it’s about love. What better way to express love of God and neighbor? Abba is truly proud of you, GMC!

    1. This journey has been full of surprises as it’s been guided by the Scriptures. There’s always something new, mysterious, profound, and transcendent… thus always more to discover. May Abba reveal his heart to us and lead us to green pastures and living waters.

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