A famous old song began with this verse, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” Believe it or not, this song predates me by many years, sung by FrankSinatra, I believe. But it speaks a truth, that marriage and love must come together if the marriage is going to be alive and well. For humans, body and soul come together, you can’t have one without the other. Every human being can only be conceived and be born when male and female reproductive cells come together. Once again, you MUST have BOTH.
Jesus is asked which law is the greatest and he responds by acknowledging two different quotes from the Law, or the Torah: “You shall live the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength;” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus says nothing new, since both laws are in the Scripture, BUT what he does say that is very much new is to bring these two laws, coming from two separate books of the Bible, TOGETHER. In other words, you can’t have one without the other. They are joined at the hip, so to speak.
It’s not enough to follow the laws and traditions of religion. These observations, especially celebrating the Eucharist, MUST be extended to reaching to the lonely, the poor, the sick. Our expressions of our love of God must find expression in action. The Good Samaritan, one of the most famous characters in all of the stories Jesus told, an outsider, brought together the two loves. He made a hated outsider, the Jew, lying half dead on the side of the road, his neighbor.
We bring together the two loves when we make every human being we come across our neighbor. This recognition, this human exchange of compassion, is the greatest expression of love. To see the one with whom we are annoyed, inconvenienced, disgusted or despised as neighbor demands faith, effort, imagination and LOVE.