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The Pharisees tested Jesus by asking him what the greatest commandment was. He replied with: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” as the greatest and second greatest commandments according to the Gospel of Matthew 22:36-40. Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind necessitates that you keep his covenant and follow his commandments which gives us the freedom of choice whether to follow or not to follow his commandments as freedom, as defined by the Compendium Of The Catechism Of The Catholic Church is “the power given by God to act or not to act, to do this or to do that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. Freedom characterizes properly human acts. The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. Freedom attains its proper perfection when it is directed toward God, the highest good and our beatitude.
Jesus’ two greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” are demonstrated by people through charity/ doing works of charity. As stated in Luke 4:18, when Jesus read Isaiah’s scroll, “He has sent me to preach the Good News to the Poor [in spirit]” is a guideline for us humans to follow in showing charity towards our neighbours by loving them as we love ourselves and ergo fulfilling God’s wish/command and earning freedom. In the Gospel of Mark 10:41-45, Jesus talks about charity and how we should show it unto others by service and being servants to others: “When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John’. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Son of Man also talks of his future death by stating that his life will be given as a ransom for many. This is God’s way of showing love towards us, by sending us His only Son to save us from our sins by dying for us. We must also follow by example and show each other love by being charitable. Charity, as stated by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “demands beneficence and fraternal correction” which we can show by being benevolent and kind-hearted. Some Christian Social Justice organizations as well as non- Christian ones, show charity toward their fellow humans which is following Jesus’ second greatest Commandment and thus following the first one as well as loving God entitles us to follow all his Commands and Jesus is God the Son in the Holy Trinity.
Charity as defined by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is “the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God”. The term charity is therefore intertwined with love which entitles us to follow Jesus Greatest Commandments: “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul and mind”, and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. The Apostle Paul, in the 1st letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians; depicts charity as being patient and kind, not jealous or boastful, neither is it arrogant nor rude. He also states that charity endures all things. In the Gospel of Matthew, a rich man asked Jesus what he must do to achieve eternal life. Jesus replied by telling him to keep the commandments, some from the decalogue and one of which was “love your neighbour as yourself”Jesus greatest commandments. The man then said that he had kept all the commandments and asked what he lacked. Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow him. The rich man went away sad for he had great wealth. Jesus, in this situation, teaches about the benevolence of charity and that after keeping all the commands, we should be kind, generous and pure of heart to truly achieve freedom in eternal life.
The sacrament makes us follow Jesus’ second greatest command by making us grow in love for our neighbour and strengthening our charity. It also wipes away our sins which is assurance to go to heaven and experience eternal life, freedom, with Jesus seated at the right hand of The Father. Freedom implies also the possibility of choosing between good and evil. The choice of evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to the slavery of sin”. Following God’s commands (Jesus greatest Commandments) one of which is loving our neighbours as ourselves therefore leads to our freedom.
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