November 4, 2012: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
“The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 28b-34)
What a beautiful Gospel reading this is today.
It is not hard to understand.
And it contains all we need to know about how to act in the presence of God.
And what does it tell us?
It simply says, “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.” And then adds: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now loving God is one thing. But loving your neighbor is another…and it is much harder IF you do not happen to like that neighbor. But that is what Jesus teaches us here.
Think of a person you know but you do not especially like. Then think about what you might do or say to that person during the coming week–something that might be difficult for you, but that will give this person some happiness in hearing it.
I think, if you are able to do this, you may feel a sense of joy that will help you know what it means to be a real Christian.