Jesus thwarts an evil scribe’s attack and reveals God’s two great commandments are to love God and love neighbor. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Truth so he can know and uphold Christ’s truth and by building the Virtue of Studiousness so he can build the good habit of studying and living by the Catechism.
20th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Mt 22:34-40
In response to their many attacks, Jesus engaged the Sadducees and Pharisees, with both aggressiveness and mercy, seeking to enlighten their dark minds, even as they attempt to find a way to kill HIm. The Sadducees, rather than being astonished by Jesus’ truth, remain obstinate but unable to successfully argue theologically, or with reason, and slink away to scheme in silence with the Pharisees, a Satanic partnership of evil; they clearly hate each other but hate Jesus even more.
They send a Pharisee lawyer, an expert in Jewish law, to test (the Greek word used can also mean, “to put on trial”) Jesus, seeking some error they can exploit; it is clearly a trap for an “expert in law” does not need input from an itinerant preacher. The lawyer addresses Jesus, as “teacher”, which attempts to flatter but has an air of sneering contempt, asking “Which is the greatest commandment?”; with the complexity of 613 Jewish laws, the lawyer thinks he can twist Jesus’ words to accuse Him of something, no matter what He answers.
Jesus’ answer is Perfection, the Divine Truth leaves the lawyer with no ability to attack Him. The Son of God, with the Father from the beginning, inspired Scripture and brilliantly synthesizes all the laws into “love of God” (Deut 6:5), and “love of neighbor” (Lev 19:18). Rather than simply answer the question, Jesus deliberately responds with “You shall love the Lord your God…”, as God, who is personally speaking to the lawyer (“You”), in an attempt to touch his conscience; ironically, the lawyer who purports to uphold the law is breaking the law with his attacks on the Son of God.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus’ interaction with the scribe: rather than reacting with just anger at the arrogant scribe who seeks to test and trap Him, Jesus reacts with Meekness (a part of Temperance), willingly answering the scribe’s question; with Divine and Human Knowledge, Jesus demonstrates His encyclopedic understanding of Scripture (which He inspired to write) and synthesizes, on the spot, the 613 commandments from the Torah (120,000+ words) into the Two Great Commandments.
Know and uphold Christ’s Truth
Realize: Like the expert in the law deceptively attempted to use flattery and trickery to trap Jesus, in this Age of Lies, many attempt to dominate others by deceit, using outright lies, purposefully hiding and omitting facts, and using euphemisms and doublespeak to disguise their evil intent.
Believe: Reflect upon the Offenses Against Truth (CCC 2475-2487).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I always keep The 8th Commandment, refuse to cooperate with lies of any kind, and courageously speak the truth, particularly when confronted by lies against faith and morals.
Study and live by the Catechism
Realize: Men like logic and to discover how things work; many flounder at trying to come up with a “logic of life”, or, a “code to live by.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church is one of the most remarkable books ever written, for it is the synthesis of the Church’s two-thousand-year meditation on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and reveals a way of life which leads to true human happiness.
Believe: Reflect upon the Prologue of the Catechism (CCC 1-25).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Word, help me build the Virtue of Studiousness (a part of Temperance) so I am motivated to continually study the Catechism to know You better, and use the teachings of Your Catechism to guide my life and lead others to You and Your Holy Catholic Church.