Gospel Reflection for November 4th The 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
All you need is love…
Whenever Valentine’s Day comes around, we are surrounded by an endless stream of love songs, poetry, films about love, chocolates and of course Valentine Day cards. There is absolutely nothing wrong in enjoying and celebrating romantic love. But sometimes, just sometimes it can seem to be a little too nice, idealistic and even unrealistic.
In the gospel this Sunday, Jesus and the Scribes are talking about the commandments. He is asked of all the commandments, which is the first and most important.
As usual, they are trying to trap Jesus and make him look like a fool in front of the people. They know that whatever commandment Jesus picks, they will publicly disagree with him. However, Jesus gives them an answer with which that not even they can argue.
He replies that love is at the heart of all the commandments; love of God, love of neighbour and love of self. There is nothing in the answer Jesus gives for the Scribe to criticise. At the time of Jesus, the Scribes and Pharisees had created an endless list of laws, rules and regulations that they said the people had to follow if they were to be good Jews.
Love is at the heart of the commandments
However, Jesus plainly and directly tells them and us today that there are no commandants greater than the call to love God, others and oneself. How is our Christian life today to be summed up? By saying lots of prayers? By strictly obeying all the rules and regulations of Lent and Advent? These practises, which are good in themselves are in danger of becoming rules and regulations in themselves. We have to be very careful that we don’t become like the Scribes and Pharisees. The words Jesus spoke to them are also meant for us too. If only we could love God, and love others as we love ourselves.
Liking someone else is easy enough. It doesn’t demand too much from us. Loving another person is very different altogether; it is often difficult and is generally very demanding. It calls us to go beyond ourselves and to put the other person first. However, we can simply love each other in our homes and families by the way we treat each other and speak to each other.
Love One Another
We are doing this each and every day. The smallest act of kindness, generosity, concern and compassion can really show others that we do deeply love them. To be disciples of Jesus is to hear and put his words in action; Love each other as I love you.
In the First Letter of St. John we read; may our love not just be words or empty talk, but something real and active. This coming week, may we look for small and simple ways to show that we do, in word and action love God and love others as we love ourselves.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
Mark 12:28-34 “You are not far from the kingdom of God”
“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.”
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