In today’s Gospel Reading there is an incident that is unique. Jesus did something that no one before him had done. He put two commandments together, now known as “The Summary of the Law.” We heard this near the beginning of our Eucharist this morning, just before the Confession. This incident is also unique because both the scribe and Jesus dealt throughout the whole event in a friendly way.
A scribe had heard some Sadducees disputing with Jesus. He felt that Jesus had answered them well. He approached Jesus to ask him this question: “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus replied with the familiar words, “The Lord our God is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk. 12:30/Deut. 6:5) Jesus then added to that, “The second is this, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
1 Cor. 15:1-11
Today we commemorate James of Jerusalem and the First Council of the Church.
The Gospel Reading for today identifies James as a brother of Jesus (v.55). The First reading, from the Book of Acts tells us of the decision reached by James as the Spokesperson of the First Council of Jerusalem (vv. 19-21). The reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians gives us evidence of Jesus’ appearance to James following his Resurrection (v.7). From this the inclusion of James as an apostle and his leadership of the Council are implied.
That Council, and the decision made by James, are of tremendous importance for the identity of the Church. Freed from bondage to the Law of Moses it would no longer be considered as a sect of Judaism. While not denying roots in the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, never the less, those coming to believe in Jesus Christ and his promises could begin to be a Body of Faithful believers, showing Jesus Christ to the World.