Commandment to Love…
St. Paul sums up the purpose of one portion of the Ten Commandments in today’s verse:
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. -Romans 13:9-10, NAB
The beauty of the Ten Commandments is truly simplified in this verse. While we often focus on the actions themselves, St. Paul focuses on the motivation behind our actions – namely love. Today, he is telling us that by following the Commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself,” then we will fulfill the other Commandments.
When we break down the Ten Commandments, we see that they basically fall into one of two categories. The first few, and the most important, deal with our relationship with God. The rest of them deal with our relationships with others. They can be found in Exodus 20. Jesus then sums up the Commandments in Matthew:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:37-40, NAB
St. Paul, in today’s verse, is echoing what Jesus had taught His followers. Jesus had simplified the teaching on the Law into two basic concepts. First, love God. Second, love your neighbor as yourself. It’s just that simple.
We often spend a lot of time digging into Biblical texts trying to dissect them enough to gain a better understanding, but sometimes, it’s better just to take the simple approach. Let’s look at today’s verse and enjoy it for its simplicity. It’s all about love – love of God and love of our neighbor. Could it get any easier than that?