JUNE 3. Ord Time. B. Thu. Mk. 12. 28-34
Updated: Sep 10
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.
First reading Tobit 6:10-11,7:1,9-14,8:4-9
'We must pray and petition the Lord'
Raphael and Tobit entered Media and had nearly reached Ecbetana when Raphael said to the boy, ‘Brother Tobias.’ ‘Yes?’ he answered. The angel went on, ‘Tonight we shall be staying with Raguel, who is a kinsman of yours. He has a daughter called Sarah, but apart from Sarah he has no other son or daughter.’
As they entered Ecbatana, Tobias said, ‘Brother Azarias, take me at once to our brother Raguel’s.’ And he showed him the way to the house of Raguel, whom they found sitting beside his courtyard door. They greeted him first, and he replied, ‘Welcome and greetings, brothers.’ And he took them into his house. He said to his wife Edna, ‘How like my brother Tobit this young man is!’ Raguel killed a sheep from the flock, and they gave them a warm-hearted welcome.
They washed and bathed and sat down to table. Then Tobias said to Raphael, ‘Brother Azarias, will you ask Raguel to give me my sister Sarah?’ Raguel overheard the words, and said to the young man, ‘Eat and drink, and make the most of your evening; no one else has the right to take my daughter Sarah – no one but you, my brother. In any case I, for my own part, am not at liberty to give her to anyone else, since you are her next of kin. However, my boy, I must be frank with you: I have tried to find a husband for her seven times among our kinsmen, and all of them have died the first evening, on going to her room. But for the present, my boy, eat and drink; the Lord will grant you his grace and peace.’ Tobias spoke out, ‘I will not hear of eating and drinking till you have come to a decision about me.’ Raguel answered, ‘Very well. Since, as prescribed by the Book of Moses, she is given to you, heaven itself decrees she shall be yours. I therefore entrust your sister to you. From now you are her brother and she is your sister. She is given to you from today for ever. The Lord of heaven favour you tonight, my child, and grant you his grace and peace.’ Raguel called for his daughter Sarah, took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias with these words, ‘I entrust her to you; the law and the ruling recorded in the Book of Moses assign her to you as your wife. Take her; take her home to your father’s house with a good conscience. The God of heaven grant you a good journey in peace.’ Then he turned to her mother and asked her to fetch him writing paper. He drew up the marriage contract, how he gave his daughter as bride to Tobias according to the ordinance in the Law of Moses.
After this they began to eat and drink. The parents, meanwhile, had gone out and shut the door behind them. Tobias rose from the bed, and said to Sarah, ‘Get up, my sister! You and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection.’ She stood up, and they began praying for protection, and this was how he began:
‘You are blessed, O God of our fathers;
blessed, too, is your name
for ever and ever.
Let the heavens bless you
and all things you have made
It was you who created Adam,
you who created Eve his wife
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race was born.
It was you who said,
“It is not good that the man should be alone;
let us make him a helpmate like himself.”
And so I do not take my sister
for any lustful motive;
I do it in singleness of heart.
Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me
and bring us to old age together.’
And together they said, ‘Amen, Amen’, and lay down for the night.