Today’s Thoughts: I have always liked the story that we find in today’s Gospel (Mark 12: 28-34). I especially like the end when Jesus looks at the scribe and says, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” It is perhaps the only moment in the Gospels when Jesus and the scribes are on the same page. There is a mutual understanding, a mutual respect at this moment in the struggle between Jesus and the religious leaders of his time. It is a nice thing to see. Would that this kind of understand and respect would happen between leaders of all kinds during our time.
The respect and understanding centers around the two great commandments, love of God and love of neighbor and we might say there is a third, love of self, because Jesus says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Jesus teaches and the scribe comes to understand, these are the two or three great commandments and everything else flows from them, which might explain why we find ourselves in the struggles that we are in today.
If we just look around at our world, our culture, our society, our church the problems that we find relate to the way we live out or perhaps better said, don’t live out these commandments. Our struggles can be directly related to how we don’t value God and perhaps more importantly how we don’t value others or ourselves. We might even say that our struggles as a culture, society, church and a world can be traced to the lack of love that we have for ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves how can we love others, how can we love God?
Love is not just wanting the best for ourselves, others and God. Love is a respect, a reverence for life, for who we are as individuals, as a culture, as a society, as a church, as a world. Love is finding the good in ourselves, others and God. Love is seeing God in others and in ourselves. Love is seeing, acknowledging, and accepting the differences in ourselves and others but most importantly still being able to find God.
Our challenge today and every day is to put into practice these three great commandments. Our challenge is to wake up each day in love with God, our neighbor and ourselves!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"