Today’s Daily Office Readings – Gospel ( Matthew 22:34-46 )
The interesting thing in today’s Gospel, I thought, was the very first verse: “When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.”
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees… With just a single sentence we have a conflict brewing. The Pharisees are trying to one–up Jesus because their rivals the Sadducees have just tried to trip him up and failed. If they can trip up Jesus then they can show that they are the ones who ought to be listened to and respected.
The interesting thing is that the moment the concept of power arises, the possibility of equality disappears. If we believe that we ought to be the ones in power, and we leave that belief unchecked, then eventually we will stop at nothing achieve and maintain that power.
The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.—Mahatma Gandhi
Which is why it makes sense that Jesus tells them that the two greatest commandments are to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If you do not love your neighbor as yourself, you will assume that you are superior, which sets up the initial seed of seeking power. If you do not love God, you cannot love your neighbor, as loving God requires you to humble yourself. Without humility we cannot love God, and without loving God we cannot love our neighbor.