Fr Paul reads from Mark’s Gospel (12: 28-34) where one of the scribes asks Jesus, ‘which is the first of all of the commandments?’.
Jesus replies ‘the first is…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’.
Fr Paul reflects on past Gospels which have lead to this point. Fr Paul says we have talked about the law from Moses, the ten commandments being given to Israel. We have heard about the greatest commandments and how Jesus puts two things together to put emphasis on a teaching. These things are all very much part of our Gospel today.
The Pharisees, among all the parties of the Jews were concerned with living Holy lives, keeping the traditions and the covenant mentioned above. However, it doesn’t take much for them or for us to move from ‘I am doing good’ to ‘I am good’. From there it is not too far to ‘anything is good if I do it’. Fr Paul says that this is a trap the Pharisees and ourselves can easily fall into.
One of the Pharisees comes to Jesus, he is not trying to trick him or trap him, he is just asking a question, just wanting an answer. Jesus replies using two passages from The Bible, and these two passages Jesus uses are the only ones with the words ‘and you shall love’…’you shall love the Lord your God…you shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus puts both on the same level, and this again shows Jesus’ mastery of the scriptures.
With this Gospel in mind today, Fr Paul asks us to reflect on how well have you loved God and your neighbour this Lent.