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Love for God and neighbor


Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost. [II Cor. 4:6-15; Matt. 22:35-46]

The Lord offered the commandment about love for God and one’s neighbor, and immediately supplemented it with the teaching about His Sonship to God and His Divinity. Why was this? Because true love for God and people is possible no way other than by the influence of faith in the Divinity of Christ the Saviour, that He is the incarnate Son of God. Such faith arouses love for God, for how can one not love God, who has loved us so much, Who did not even spare His Only-Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us? Faith brings this love to complete fulfilment, or to what it seeks; while love seeks a living union. To attain this union, one must overcome a feeling of God’s righteousness which punishes sin; without this it is terrifying to approach God. This feeling is overcome through the conviction that God’s righteousness is satisfied by the death on the cross of the Son of God. Such a conviction comes from faith; consequently, faith opens the path of love toward God. This is the first thing. Second: faith in the Divinity of the Son of God Who was incarnate, suffered, and was buried for our sake, gives an example of love for one’s neighbor; for love is when one lays down his soul for his beloved. Faith also gives strength for the manifestation of such love. To have such love, one must become a new person instead of an egotistical person—one must become a self-sacrificing person. Only in Christ does a person become a new creature; but we can only be in Christ if we unite with Christ by faith and grace-filled rebirth through the holy mysteries accepted with faith. From here it follows that any expectation by people without faith to maintain even good moral conduct is in vain. Everything is together; it is impossible to divide a man. One must satisfy all of him.