To read the texts click on the texts: Hos 14:2-10; Mk 12:28-34
In Matthew 22:35, the lawyer asks the question about the great commandment in order to test Jesus; in Mark he is not hostile and does not intend to test Jesus. As a matter of fact Mark mentions at the beginning of the incident that the lawyer thought that Jesus had answered the Sadducees well and at the end of that response, he commends Jesus for his answer. Jesus responds to the lawyer’s question in the words of the “Shema”, which speaks of love of God (Deut 6:5-6), but adds also the love of neighbour (Lev 19:18). The scribe’s response to this is to acknowledge Jesus’ answer as correct and to add that following these commandments is greater than sacrifices and burnt offerings. Jesus concludes the dialogue by stating that because the scribe has recognized what his priorities are, he is not far from the kingdom of God.
Love of God cannot really be separated from love of neighbour. The two go together. Our love for God is made manifest and tangible only when we reach out in love to someone else. While Paul gives a beautiful description of what love is and what it is not in 1 Corinthians 13, my own definition of love is that in love there is no “I”.