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The Everyday Prayer


 
printable version

Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Mark 12, 28-34

One of the scribes who had listened to them debating appreciated that Jesus had given a good answer and put a further 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, only 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 burnt offering 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.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The passage from the Gospel according to Mark we have just heard describes an episode within Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem. A sincere request from a scribe took place among the growing hostility of the leaders of the people. He asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Usually scribes knew well the Law, yet this time he approached the Teacher, not to test him but to learn a decisive teaching. He did well indeed, since nobody can be a teacher unto himself. All of us need to ask the Lord for the true sense of Scriptures in order to orient our lives. Unfortunately, we easily forget to listen to the Scriptures and concentrate in prayer, assuming to know well what to do and how to live. It is the sin of self-sufficiency. We think we are able to do without God and His word. Today this scribe is before us and turns to Jesus also on our behalf: What is the heart of the Gospel? Jesus answered that the first commandment is twofold: to love God and love our neighbour. They are two inseparable commandments: even more they form one love, one thing. John the Apostle writes, “Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). Jesus who loved God above anything and more than his own life, and who equally loved men and women above anything and more than his own life, provides us with the utmost example of compliance to the “first” commandment. However, it worth noting, that such a commandment is preceded by an invitation that is its premise: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel!’” We are again up to what we have read during the last days and what has been suggested to us in a continuous way during this time of Lent: the need of listening to God speaking to us. Those who do not listen to God will listen only to themselves and will not be able to live the commandment of love fully. Only those who listen, like Mary did, will live fully in the power of faith. The scribe, satisfied with Jesus’ answer, was told that he was not far from the kingdom of God. Much more than to that scribe was given to us. Let us learn from him, at least, his being willing to ask and prompt to receive.


03/28/2014
Memory of Jesus crucified


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