Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity
A Sermon by St. John Chrysostom
When the Pharisees had heard that Christ had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together for a fresh attack ; just when it behoved them to be quiet, they willed to contend ; and so they put forward one of themselves who professed skill in the Law, not wishing to learn, but to lay a snare. This person therefore proposed the question : Which is the great commandment in the Law? Now since this is the first : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God : they question him in this manner, expecting that he would make some exception or addition to this in his own case, since (as the Evangelist John saith) he made himself God. With this expectation they asked him the question ; but in answer thereto what said Christ? : To shew that they had adopted this course because they were loveless, and sick with envious ill-will, he answered : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind : this is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt live thy neighbour as thyself.
Why is this second commandment like unto the first? Because the first is the source of the second and its sanction. For everyone (as saith the Evangelist John) that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light. And again, (as saith the Psalmist) : The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. To which saying is added: They are corrupt, and become abominable in their doings. And yet again (as saith the Apostle : The love of money is a root all evil, which while some coveted after they have erred from the Faith. And yet once more (as saith the Evangelist John) : If ye love me, keep my commandments : of which commandments the head and root is : Thou shalt love the Lord thy god, and thy neighbour as thyself.
If therefore, to love God is to love our neighbour also, (as the Lord taught when he said, If ye love me, O Peter, feed my sheep,) and if love is the fulfilling of the Law, justly then doth the Lord say that on these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets, And bear in mind how, before this, being interrogated about the resurrection, he answered them more than they asked ; for now also, being interrogated concerning the first and great commandment, he answereth more than they asked, for he implieth that the second one is but a little lower than the first. Herein he would have them understand how that it was hatred which stirred them up to question him. For charity, saith the Apostle, envieth not.
Antiphon on the Magnificat:What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. * He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand?