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MARCH 12. LENT. WK. 3. FRI. MK. 12. 28- 34

Updated: Aug 28

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.

This is where Jesus Christ, The Son of God, proclaims, in very clear language the purpose of life, not only here on earth, but also in Eternal Life!

And it is so simple and unadulterated; - we are created to Love!

And the reason for this is we were created by Love; - so Love is our Parent and our source, as “God is Love!”

But Christ did not just tell us to Love; - he also taught us how to Love; - by first Loving us!

And the primary lesson he left us is that Love demands Self-Sacrifice; - as it requires we put the needs and concerns of others before our own needs and concerns.

This is a wonderful, and noble, sentiment but; - as we are sinners; - with a natural inclination to care for ourselves; - it involves a constant struggle!

Which is why Jesus Christ; - The Son of God, became one of us; - in order to reveal the extent of God’s Love for us; - and to teach us how to Love!

Because he was aware of our inclination to “love ourselves”; - and so commit “sin”; - it was essential he reveal God’s Love for us, which he did by introducing him to us as our “Father”, and teaching us to “Pray” to him for our needs.

Christ had this dual mission; - to reveal the extent of God’s Love for us; - and to also teach us how to return that Love via Prayer, Humility, Charity, and Obedience.

So, this is the purpose of our Life; - to Love and serve God; - something we do by imitating Christ; - who had no other desire than the fulfilment of his Father’s Will.

But, because of sin (our inclination to ‘love’ ourselves) Christ also left us multiple gifts; - in addition to Prayer; - to assist us to Love God and Neighbour and overcome sin; - something we lack the ability to do by our own strength.

First among these is The Church, with its Sacraments, which are the primary source of Sanctifying Grace. Then we have the Scriptures, which reveal God’s Wisdom, together with the teachings of Christ; - and finally we have the gift of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, who Christ gave us, as he hung upon the Cross, to be our Mother, and to intercede for us with God!

Gospel Acclamation Mt4:17

Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

Repent, says the Lord;

the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

First reading Hosea 14:2-10 A call to conversion and promise of safety

The Lord says this:

Israel, come back to the Lord your God;

your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.

Provide yourself with words

and come back to the Lord.

Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away

so that we may have happiness again

and offer you our words of praise.

Assyria cannot save us,

we will not ride horses any more,

or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,

for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’

– I will heal their disloyalty,

I will love them with all my heart,

for my anger has turned from them.

I will fall like dew on Israel.

He shall bloom like the lily,

and thrust out roots like the poplar,

his shoots will spread far;

he will have the beauty of the olive

and the fragrance of Lebanon.

They will come back to live in my shade;

they will grow corn that flourishes,

they will cultivate vines

as renowned as the wine of Helbon.

What has Ephraim to do with idols any more

when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?

I am like a cypress ever green,

all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.

Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.

For the ways of the Lord are straight,

and virtuous men walk in them,

but sinners stumble.

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