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GREATEST COMMANDMENT

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

Introduction

If there is one skill that we all can get bet­ter at, to become bet­ter lead­ers, entre­pren­eurs, friends, and human beings, it is listen­ing. Have you noticed how the word listen con­tains the same let­ters as the word silent? In order to listen, a per­son must be silent. In today’s high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world, com­mu­nic­a­tion is more import­ant than ever, yet we seem to devote less and less time to really listen­ing to one anoth­er. Genu­ine listen­ing has become a rare gift ‑the gift of time. It helps build rela­tion­ships, solve prob­lems, ensure under­stand­ing, resolve con­flicts, and improve accur­acy. At work, effect­ive listen­ing means few­er errors and less wasted time. At home, it helps devel­op resource­ful, self-reli­ant kids who can solve their own prob­lems. Listen­ing builds friend­ships and careers. It saves money and mar­riages. The greatest com­mand­ment is love, love of God and love of neigh­bour. How­ever, both depend on the capa­city to listen. Hence, the power of listen­ing. It is listen­ing that leads to love. Who­ever does not listen, can­not com­pre­hend this.

The first commandment

One of the scribes came near and heard them dis­put­ing with one anoth­er, and see­ing that he answered them well, he asked him, which com­mand­ment is the first of all?” (Mark 12:28). To under­stand the sense of this ques­tion, we have to look back to Mark 12:1–27. After the par­able of the vine­yard in which the Jew­ish author­it­ies recog­nized that they are the wicked ten­ants who killed the ser­vants and heir of the own­er of the vine­yard (cf. Mark 12:1–12), they stayed back and sent the Phar­isees and the Hero­di­ans to ques­tion Jesus on wheth­er to pay tax to Caesar or to ignore the order. Again, Jesus silenced them with the clas­sic­al instruc­tion to return to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what rightly belongs to God (cf. Mark 12:13–17). When these attempts failed, the Sad­ducees came up with the ques­tion about resur­rec­tion, cit­ing the example of a woman who got mar­ried to sev­en broth­ers. As usu­al, Jesus defeated them by explain­ing to them that the king­dom of God is not about mar­riage and mar­riage ban­quet, remind­ing them that God is not God of the dead but of the liv­ing. Jesus con­cluded his reply by telling the Sad­ducees that they were very much mis­taken by think­ing that their earthly mar­riage con­tin­ues in the king­dom of God (cf. Mark 12:18–27).

Conclusion

You should speak in such a way that oth­ers love to listen to you, and listen in such a way that oth­ers love to speak to you. We must listen because as Dalai Lama rightly poin­ted out, “when you talk, you are only repeat­ing what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn some­thing new.” Listen­ing is a mag­net­ic and strange thing, a cre­at­ive force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it cre­ates us, makes us unfold and expand. B. C. Leal observes that listen­ing and speak­ing are the basic com­mu­nic­a­tion tools we use every day. We use them to pro­cess lan­guage as we inter­act with oth­ers. When we use these tools well, they help us cre­ate won­der­ful, grow­ing, last­ing rela­tion­ships. How­ever, when used improp­erly, those very tools of listen­ing and speak­ing can cre­ate a lot of hurt, dam­age, and even destruc­tion to rela­tion­ships. We should learn to speak and listen properly.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I and II)!! The reflec­tion for the 31st Sunday of the year (B) is found in vol. II pages 489–501. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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