Reading: The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-32.
Good morning happy Thursday, and many blessings.
In today’s Gospel (Mark 12:28b-34) we are introduced to a scribe who really seeks to know the truth. Like the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the past two days, he asks Jesus a question, but with a very different intention. The others had asked their questions in order to try to catch Jesus out, but this man’s question is one which genuinely seeks the truth. And Jesus, recognizing this, praises him - “you are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
I notice too what Jesus says are the two most important commandments. They are about love, not about rules. Do I sometimes think that rules are the most important thing? Do I sometimes judge those who break rules? I sit with Jesus and think honestly about these things, asking him to lead me to the truth.
It is not always easy to love God emotionally, especially when life is difficult. It is important that I am not afraid to say that to God and be honest with God always. “We are God’s work of art”, as St. Paul tells us in Ephesians. It can be difficult for us to love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves.
I wonder; what elements of my faith do I struggle with? Is the commandment to love really the priority for me? When I am struggling in my life what is my priority? Recall times in my life when I was able to put the ‘law of love’ and what that was like. What happened as a result? Talk with Jesus about this and give thanks.
As we struggle with so many commitments and responsibilities, we too ask the same question as the scribe, ‘Which of the commandments is the first of all?’ What should be first in my list of priorities, what is my most important duty? Jesus’ reply is disarming in its simplicity, no wonder they did not dare ask him any further. I let his reply echo in my heart, asking for the grace to understand what it means to put love as my highest priority.
Today I also ask myself, in the presence of Jesus, what it means to love God with all my heart, all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength. I ask for this single-mindedness, and for seeing all my life embraced in this commitment.