One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: 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 mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Life is simple and not complicated for all those who love the Lord. In this unconditional love, everything will be secondary, including the people whom we love and who love us. All that we do is a response to the love that we have received from God. Even a great teacher is confused because of the multiplication of laws and regulations. Jesus invites him to consentrate his life, fully filled with God’s love.
In this love, life will find its meaning and hope. To love this God is first of all to know how to love oneself, an inner look without any judgment, full of mercy. We are very often judgemental of ourselves. Since our body is a dwelling place of God, the more we take care of this body which is just and all that dwells in it, the more we will be able to respond to this divine call, a call to love God and our brothers and sisters.
Very often we do not know ourselves, including the emotions and feelings that dwell in us. There are moments we don't know why we are happy and sad. Today, Jesus invites us to know ourselves, the reason for our happiness and joy. Without knowing ourselves, how can we love others, as ourselves? This call to know ourselves, should never be satisfied with the minimal, necessary, (appearance) but the maximum possible (being). A call to perfection to the core of our being.
In life and in death, it is necessary to do it in a perfection willed by God. It is in this perfection, Jesus assures us that the Kingdom of God is found. The union of God with the people, which is expressed in the communion of the people of God, is the perfect visible sign of God's presence in this world.
Action of the day : Be person of love.
«There is no other commandment greater than these»
Fr, Rodolf PUIGDOLLERS i Noblom SchP
(La Roca del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, in Mark's Gospel, one of the scribes asks Jesus: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” (Mk 12:28). The question is somewhat cunning. In the first place, because he is trying to establish some sort of ranking amongst the different commandments. Secondly, because his question is centered in the Law. It’s clear, the question comes from a master of the Law.
The Lord's answer takes to pieces the spirituality of that “master of the Law” And the attitude of the disciple of Jesus with respect to God can be summed up in two points: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Mk 12:30) and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:31). The religious behavior is defined in his relationship with God and with his neighbor; and the human behavior, in his relationship with the others and with God. St. Augustine says the same with other words: “Love God, and do whatever you please”. Love God and love the others, and all the rest will just be a consequence of this plenitude of love.
The teacher of the Law understands it perfectly well. And he adds that to love God with all one’s heart, and one’s neighbor as oneself, “is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mk 12:33). God is awaiting our reply, our total deliverance, “with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength” (Mk 12:30), for God means Truth, Goodness, and generous dedication to others. “Offerings and sacrifices” have a meaning only insofar they will be the true expression of this double love. And to think that, at times, we use the “little commandments” and “the offerings and sacrifices” as stumbling-block to criticize or wound others!
Jesus approves the reply of the master of the Law with “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” (Mk 12:34). For Jesus, whoever loves his neighbor over everything else is not far from God.