Jesus is faced with a hostile question, designed to trip him up. Which is the greatest commandment of God’s Law? He replies with the Shema, the great prayer of Israel – the words that God spoke to the people through Moses: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Love of God means giving our whole selves to him, without reserve. And loving God means loving our neighbour, too. The two commandments are really one. Our love of God is empty, unless it moves us to love our neighbours, and to treat them as we would wish to be treated ourselves.
Jesus’ teaching goes even further. We may manage to love those who are like ourselves. But all of our fellow human beings are our neighbours, especially the poor and those on the edges – the stranger, the widow and the orphan. We are called to love them, too. Jesus gave his life for us, and he asks us to give ourselves for others.