November 4, 2018: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Mark 12:28b-34
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.
After reading these words in this gospel of Mark, I wondered — did the scribe asking this question expect a simple answer — an answer that could be easily followed. What he received from Jesus was not a brief reply but a prescription for a whole life style. It’s our life’s work, as well. And this work involves all of who we are — our thinking, our loving, our openness to the Spirit and our bodily and spiritual strength. This is not just a “go to Mass on Sunday” spirituality; what Jesus asks also requires us to attend to how we interact with others, how we live out our vocation, how we respond to justice issues. All of these are ways we love God and love one another. No wonder no one asked Jesus any other questions. Jesus had already shown what is truly necessary to be a true lover of God.
As we live our lives this week, let’s be aware of the choices we make. Do we truly act to show love with all our minds, our hearts, our strength and our spirit?