Today’s Gospel is so very Jewish. A man asks Jesus about the greatest commandment and Jesus proclaims the Shema. Many Jews still have the lovely practice of keeping a Mezuzah at the doorposts of their home with the Shema and other parts of the Torah on little scrolls. Catholics have replaced this practice with the holy water font that many have at their front door. Many Jews still bind themselves with leather straps containing the prayer as an outward sign of the grace of this prayer – the greatest commandment.
The Second part of the Greatest Commandment, Jesus points out, is “And you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” This is the golden rule written in the book of Tobit (chapter 4 but particularly verse 15), As Jesus repeats the golden rule He is encompassing the rest of the Commandments; honour your father and mother, don’t murder,keep sex holy, don’t steal, don’t lie about other people, don’t envy the things of another person (envy as wishing to destroy) and don’t envy the spouse/family of another.
Keep to all that, and heaven is open. You see, Jesus commands us to love, so love is an act of the will as well as a feeling of the emotions. True love doesn’t harm the other, or enable them to harm themselves.
Our culture simply doesn’t get that. And far too many Christians are subsumed by the culture and not by Christ’s teaching.