Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 6:2-6, Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 57, Hebrews 7:23-28, & Mark 12:28b-34
Today, Saint Mark's Gospel message has a bit of a "question and answer "theme. The scribe is asking, not testing Jesus. A prominent yet hidden question emerges about whether Jesus holds tightly to the Jewish tradition of Moses that there is but "One God." Jesus outlines what is expected considering that there is this "One God."
After listening to the series of elements about loving the One God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength, we are left to ponder. What does it mean to love God? If we could do this, it would not appear to be as demanding as loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. It might seem more natural to fear God than to love God. Fear can be quite a good motivator to keep us in line.
Loving our neighbor is easy when we like our neighbor. The people of Israel were given laws of great exactness and explicitness. There were rules for every occasion, and one would know where they stood in relationship with the "terrible and One God." Jesus is Love. Love is not just a commandment; it is a person. When we love, we share Jesus. We give altruistically like Jesus. We are capable of loving others because God loves us.
I leave you with this one observation. It seems that those who receive themselves gratefully, as loved by God and others, are freer to love others as they love themselves. They do not seem to want to argue needlessly about what "neighbor" means or parse over the meaning of "all, "mind, "soul, "strength, "and "heart."
They seem to receive love effortlessly and to share and reflect love to others as "neighbors. "The challenge of this Gospel message and the entire Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Jesus is whether we can let go of our questions and get on with living the Eucharist, the "source and summit of our faith. "
Question of the Day: How will you examine the love you have for yourself then consider your capacity to love God and your neighbor?
Prayer: "Lord, you will show me the path of life and fill me with joy in your presence. "Psalms 16, 11