At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus and one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting Him to the test, asked Him, Master, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul, and your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets. Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them, saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is He? They said to Him, David’s. He said to them, How then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? If David, therefore, calls Him ‘Lord.’ how is He his son? And no one could answer Him a word; neither did anyone dare from that day forth to ask Him any more questions.
We are very often familiar with the first part of this passage of scripture, but are often forgetful that Christ was once again challenged. When I read this passage, I couldn’t help but think of the time when Jesus was in the desert fasting, and was tempted by Satan. Each temptation was at least not hidden in intention: it takes a human being to think that questions like this could be disguised as mere questions when they were intended to be tests to ‘unseat’ Christ.
Yet Christ knew this. And He in turn asked a question that could be answered, and yet was not, because to do so the would need to admit that Jesus was the Christ. And doing that would upend the status quo in such a way as to unseat those in power–not just unseat, but unmask the sins of those in power.
There’s also the way to look at “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”, not as a commandment, but as a statement of fact. We treat our neighbours as we treat ourselves. If we despise our neighbours, if we despise those with differences, we are facing an uncomfortable reality that we are despising some aspect of ourselves. The key is to have the fortitude to enter that cave, face that dragon, and slay it. Luckily for us, Christ and the saints are with us in this fights. We are only alone if we choose to be, and even in that choice, the enemy is always prowling near by looking for an opportunity to seize.