Sunday, November 4

Today’s Gospel reading, Mark 12:28b-34, reflects the one thing that is more important than anything else. That’s because without this one thing everything else rings hollow and falls short. A scribe asked Jesus which of the commandments was the greatest. Now, there were lots to choose from. The Jewish people, based on the information Moses left them, had 613 of them. And they were all, for the truly righteous Jew, important. This could however, in a worst case scenario, denigrate into legalism and nothing more. For these laws to have meaning they needed something, or Someone, to give them meaning. There had to be a basis, a base on which to build. And Jesus provided that base.

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, with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

There is One God. He is our Creator, He has first claim on us and He deserves our all. Having created all out of love for love of others we should be, well, like Father like son. Or daughter.

To love my neighbor as myself presupposes that I love myself. Not a selfish, self-serving sort of love. But a healthy, giving sort of love. I give myself credit (not too much), I give myself space (just enough), I give myself care (of the proper kind), and I am concerned for my well-being. The list doesn’t end there and there is no best way to word it but you get the idea. All of these things, all the good that I do and wish for myself? I ought to do and wish for you. And all of this should be because I love God first. He, after all, created you because He loves you. And me, too.

These two greatest commandments are also the most demanding. The others, not eating pork for example, pale in comparison. Which brings us to another expression of these same two. In a nut shell …

“Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

Not to worry …

“It is he that giveth strength to the weary, and increaseth force and might to them that are not.” Isaiah 40:29.

We are not alone in this. Matthew 28:20.

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Published in: on November 4, 2012 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Sunday, November 4  
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