A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 12:28-34
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, '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 strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said to him, ' You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but he. And to love him with all your heart, and with all understanding, with all your strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. " And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, " You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Gospel of the Lord
Reflections: "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength"
Scribes in Jesus' time were learned men who studied the Law, transcribed it and wrote commentaries or reflections. They, unfortunately, went beyond interpretation of scripture and they spelled the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit behind it. The scribes played a part in having Jesus arrested and crucified.
Jesus spent a great deal of his time pointing out that what God wanted was so different what the scribes interpreted. They were condemned by Jesus for their hypocrisy. The man made traditions took the place of God's law.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were always trying to trap Jesus. A scribe approached Jesus with a tricky complex question--'Which commandment is the first of all?' Jesus answered the scribes with the first verse of the traditional Shema--The Shema is a biblical commandment prayer recited twice daily (Deut 6:5)
"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 MINDS AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH'
JESUS ADDED, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
May we extend our love to one another, to love our neighbor as God loves us. God wants more than outward acts of righteousness. He wants an inward change of heart--that is constantly yielding to love and obedience. How more powerful and simple a message--
PRAYER: Dear Father, you are our only God and you are Lord over all creation. You are all powerful and loving and faithful. Your love is most steadfast. Please give us the grace to simply love as you love. Embolden our faith in you, and give us peace in the hope of your promises. Amen
This prayer should be said daily for the rest of our lives.
May our prayer each day be--Lord, I love you with all my heart soul, mind and strength. Help me love my neighbor as myself. Amen
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