So what is the most important commandment in the Bible? Of course you know the answer....
You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul,
and with all your might.
That’s it, I hear you say, and if you don’t believe this, then read the Bible!
Look what the Bible says about that most saintly of Israel’s kings, the noble King Josiah:
Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. Second Book of Kings, chapter 23, verse 25
And if you don’t believe that, then I can turn to Jesus and three Gospels that quote Jesus on this very point. Jesus answered the question of a man who asked that very question:
The Lord your God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark, chapter 12, verse 30
Matthew says that it was a lawyer, a person whose business it was to know all the laws and commandments, who asks Jesus the same question and gets the same answer. Check it out. Read Matthew 22:37.
Luke’s Gospel tells the same story. It is in Luke 10:25-28. Read it and you find the same answer to which Jesus adds a very encouraging word. Do this, and you shall live!
So there you have it. End of story.
I do not agree. I believe that the Holy Bible of the Jewish people and the holy Gospels in our Bible are on my side. I believe that God and Jesus are on my side.
Moses was told what the most important commandment is. Moses is reported as saying that he has to teach the people all the commandments and all the laws. Being a good teacher, he starts by giving the whole people of Israel the very first commandment, the most important of all commandments, the commandment that must be obeyed before any other commandment, a commandment so important that it forms the first words of the most prominent prayer in Jewish liturgy in the synagogue. It has become the first words of the most important private prayer recited daily by Jewish people. It is as important to devout Jewish people as the ‘Our Father” is to Christian people. This is the first and most important commandment in Hebrew and in English:
SHEMA, ISRA’EL – LISTEN, Israel
The first thing you have to do is to Listen to The God Who Speaks
Christians hear the word of God in their Holy Bible. When the Gospel is proclaimed from the lectern at Mass, everyone joyfully shouts out,
The Word of the Lord!
And so it is. But God has pointed us to his Son and told us that Jesus is the Word of God in our world. The Word was made flesh and dwells amongst us. Jesus is the personal face of God, as we well know.
So on another mountain, the mountain of Transfiguration,
speaking from the cloud, God identified Jesus:
This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
And then, after the identity parade, God issues the first and most important commandment, the commandment without which no other commandment would make sense:
Listen to him!
If you don’t listen, you won’t hear. We are transfigured by listening.