JUNE 3. Ord Time. B. Thu. Mk. 12. 28-34
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must 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 must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.
In today’s reading Christ articulated what is referred to by the Church as “the Great Commandment” and the words the Son of God used today need to be pondered constantly and serious thought given to their meaning; - “There is no commandment greater than these!”
But more importantly they are words we are called to put into practice and live on a daily basis!
And a truth easily overlooked is Christ became a man and died on a Cross in order to live them!
It is no exaggeration to say in today’s Gospel Christ was articulating the purpose of human life!
There are many people who have lived in this world who were great teachers, from Moses, to Abraham, to the saints, but none of them “lived what they taught” more than Jesus Christ who, as a result, deserves the title of the greatest teacher who ever lived.
Which is why the prayerful study of his life, the prayerful study of the Gospel is so important; - with great emphasis being placed on the word “prayerful”; - as it is not academic study that is needed, but one where we humbly seek the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and “see”!
And one of the first things we need to pray about is the very meaning of the words “to love!”
What does it mean to “Love” God, and what does it mean to “Love” our Neighbour?
If Christ bore witness to anything it was how to do both, and at the most fundamental level he taught it demands self-denial and self-sacrifice; - so Christian “love” is very different from what the world proclaims; - where great emphasis is placed on fun, pleasure and enjoyment.
Christian ‘love’ is focused on giving; - while the World’s ‘love’ is more focused on receiving; - which is why they are so different, and why Christians need to be discerning when it comes to the practice and the art of love.
As St. Paul put it: “I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching, I may have all knowledge and understanding, I may have the Faith to move mountains; - but if I have not love I am nothing!
“Love is patient, love is kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud. Love is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things”.
Gospel Acclamation cf.2Tm1:10
Our Saviour Jesus Christ has done away with death
and brought us life through his gospel.