Father Elias on the Great Commandments (Matthew 22:34-40)

When you ask a question about what is most important, you usually expect a straightforward and simple answer: It’s either this or that thing It cannot be two things. However, Jesus usually gives an answer that is not very simple and not very straightforward. In fact, with every answer, there’s a new question: Jesus always gives answers that sort of force you to think. You have to choose between leaving it at that (it’s too complicated, it’s not straightforward enough, it’s not simple enough) or go forward and ask Jesus more questions. You have gone towards him and when he answers you, you’ll have to either return home to your safety zone where you don’t have to ask questions, or you continue with Christ, asking questions.

That’s the way. Jesus leads us into the mystery. You get to know more and more about Jesus while hearing his answers about the will of God, about life, but you also get to understand more and more what you don’t know and where your ignorance is still stronger than you. Jesus wants to take you with him. When you go towards Jesus, it doesn’t stop there. From the moment that Jesus answers to you, you go further., you go on with Christ. And Christ always gives answers that force you to choose, ‘Am I going to return into my safety zone or am I going to continue with Christ on this path towards God’,

Now the answer of Jesus to the question, ‘What is the most important commandment?’ Jesus in fact, says, ‘You have to adore and love God nd you have to love your neighbour’. That’s two most important things. They’re most important together, if you like, and that’s because Jesus leads, or he wants to lead this Pharisee into the mystery. God is a mystery that we shall never understand completely, but we are preparing ourselves in this world to see Him – to see God.

To shed some light on the answer of Christ, we have to go back to Genesis where we see a little bit in the Revelation – what God thinks. What is his idea before creating us mankind? We read in Genesis about the reflection of God about what he’s going to do, and he says, “I’m going to create a man in my image and in my likeness”, and then it is said he created man and woman as his image.

But there’s very little about this likeness. Where has the likeness gone And that’s the very important thing: God creates and then later saves, redeems his image with his omnipotence, but then he wants to realise his own likeness in us with a shared power and a shared power that actually looks more to us in a human way like a shared vulnerability, a shared suffering, a Shared death, but which is, in fact sharing in the power of God, which wants to unite itself to us to realise this likeness to God.

And that’s where this mysterious second half of the most important commandment comes in. We realize, with God, his own likeness in us by choosing life, by choosing reality, by choosing risky reality. We’re here to take challenges.

First, we get out of our virtual worlds. Our idealised world of gaming and pornography First, we choose the true reality as it is, and then we live in that reality. If we get trapped in some comfort zone for some reason or another, it might be wealth or social security or, you know, in reality we can get trapped. We can get imprisoned in a safety zone, so we have to get out of that.

We have to get out of the audience and jump into the ring in our life. It will have to happen one day or another in order to become someone. We choose life, We choose reality, We choose a reality that is full of chances and risks because it’s the true potential that we have in us and that God wants to use to realise, not so much his image in us because that’s what he created and that’s what he redeemed, but in order to realize this likeness to himself in us, and that’s why he gives a little bit tricky or ambiguous answers, because what he wants is that in us, in our soul, his grace bears fruit and that in us a thirst grows – a thirst that asks to God ‘How is it possible? How are you going to do this?’

It’s good not to stop at just saying “. “I believe Jesus. I love Jesus” but asking him. How do I go towards the house of the Father with you from here “

First broadcast on The Sunday Eucharist (http://thesundayeucharist.com) on October 29th, 2023 Connect with Father Elias Leyds on Facebook:   / elias.leyds  

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