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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms a scholar’s identification of the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

All of religion is finally about awakening the deepest desire of the heart and directing it toward God; it is about the ordering of love toward that which is most worthy of love. But, Jesus says, a necessary implication of this love of God is compassion for one’s fellow human beings.

Why are the two commandments so tightly linked? The best response is the simplest: because of who Jesus is. Christ is not simply a human being, and he is not simply God; rather, he is the God-man, the one in whose person divinity and humanity meet.

Therefore, it is finally impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he has, in his own person, embraced. Those who know Christ Jesus, fully divine and fully human, realize that the love of God necessarily draws us to a love for the human race. They grasp the logical consistency and spiritual integrity of the greatest commandment.