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A Higher Law

The Jewish Law was based on the Ten Commandments. But, over time, a substantial body of detailed rules was added to flesh these out.

Ultimately, there were commandments covering almost every aspect of life: what to eat; what to wear; how to wash; when and how to fast and pray; how to practice appropriate charity; and—of course—how to be reconciled to God for any and every kind of sin. What often got lost in the constant effort to follow all of these rules was the pure and simple love that they were supposed to be based on. So, when Jesus spoke about the Law, he urged people to get back to basics: love God first and foremost; love other people the way you love yourself. In today’s Gospel, as he approaches his Passion, Jesus gives his disciples one commandment above all: “Love one another as I have loved you.” And this is an even higher standard—because he loved us more than he loved himself! He dedicated his whole life to serving others and even died on the cross in order to save us. When we consider this, we should certainly feel love and gratitude for God. But, if we want to return that love properly, we need to overcome the main preoccupation of all human beings throughout history: we need to be more concerned with taking care of others than we are with taking care of ourselves. We should look at ourselves today. Are we really keeping this commandment?

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