Reflection June 8th, 2023

The Gospel according to Mark (12:28-34)

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.

Reflection: Today is a perfect, drop the mic and walk of the stage, moment for Jesus.  When asked the greatest of all the commandments he condensed all the teachings pertaining to how to walk with God into this simple yet profound proclamation.  It wasn’t a don’t do this or you must do that.  It is the message that we have received from all of eternity, Love God and each other.  As it says in Matthew 2:40, “The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.

Many have spent entire lifetimes trying to delve deep into the mysteries of our faith.  We could spend every waking moment searching for the way, method, or means to a holy life.  Yet, here, Jesus presents us with the key to living our faith life to the fullest.  Ask most Christians which is the greatest commandment, and they would probably respond as Jesus did.  Yet, ironically, we struggle to follow the “Greatest” commandment.  Why?  It would seem that we are caught in a constant tug of war.  We know what we are called to do but we are often pulled in the opposite direction by our own wants and desires.

In this great struggle between what God calls us to do and our own selfish tendencies is a simple statement by John the Baptist in the Gospel of John 3:30 that can help, “He must increase; I must decrease.”  We know that the closer we walk with God “The Greatest Commandment”, is not as difficult to follow.  When we allow the grace of God to reside in our hearts through prayer, The Sacraments, sincere study of Scripture and Church teachings, we are more able to deny the impulses that lead us down the road of our own misguided choices.  We know we will falter in our attempts to live according to this commandment.  But with love as our motivation, our guiding force we can not only believe in Jesus’ response but truly live it and reveal that the Kingdom of God is within and all around us.

Action of the day: The one part of The Greatest Commadment that is most difficult for us to follow is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Yes, it is often difficult to love our neighbor, for various reasons, but what makes it even harder is we sometimes struggle to love ourselves.  Spend time in prayer, meditation, and thought pondering how to better love yourself.  One suggestion, let God show you how.

Audio Reflection:

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