Saturday, November 03, 2012
31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
Dt 6:2-6 / Heb 7:23-28 / Mk 12:28b- 34
Fear Yahweh, observe his commandments all the days of your life and his norms that I teach you today. So also for your children and your children's children that they may live long. Listen, then, Israel, observe these commandments and put them into practice. If you do this, you will be well and you will multiply in this land flowing with milk and honey, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, promised you. Listen, Israel: Yahweh, our God, is One Yahweh. And you shall love Yahweh, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. Engrave on your heart the commandments that I pass on to you today.
The former priests were many since, as mortal men, they could not remain in office. But Jesus remains forever and the priesthood shall not be taken from him. Consequently he is able to save for all time those who approach God through him. He always lives to intercede on their behalf. It was fitting that our High Priest be holy, undefiled, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens; a priest who does not first need to offer sacrifice for himself before offering for the sins of the people, as high priests do. He offered himself in sacrifice once and for all. And whereas the Law elected weak men as high priests, now, after the Law, the word of God with an oath appointed the Son, made perfect forever.
MARK 12:28B- 34
A teacher of the Law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two." The teacher of the Law said to him, "Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one, and there is no other besides him. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice." Jesus approved this answer and said, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
During the time of Jesus, there were two currents among the rabbinic schools. One current was to multiply the laws into limitless regulations so as to cover all possible situations in life. The other current was to gather and sum up all the laws and regulations into one general statement, which would contain the whole message. The rabbi Hillel was once asked by a proselyte to instruct him in the whole law while he stood on one leg. Hillel's answer was "What thou hatest for thyself, do not to thy neighbor. This is the whole law. The rest is commentary. Go and learn."
It is probably with this kind of spirit that one of the scribes came to Jesus with the question: "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."
That answer would have satisfied the scribe. For this command comes from Deuteronomy (6:4-9) of the Torah: "Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words, which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and your gates."
This commandment of the Hebrew Scripture hangs ever before the eyes of Israel: Love God above all else. However, Jesus connects a little known ethical injunction to this great commandment: "You shall love your neighbor [fellow Israelites] as yourself." (Lev. 19:18). Jesus puts the two commandments together and made them one. Religion to him was loving God and loving neighbor.
And Jesus reminds the Jews that "neighbor" is not just fellow Jews. A neighbor is a person in need. That's the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus took the love of neighbor a step further beyond the traditional understanding of the Jews. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaimed, "You have heard [the traditional teaching] `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, `Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'"
And at the Last Supper Jesus commands: "Love one another as I have loved you." No longer "Love others as you love yourself." For love of us, he became one of us. He was hungry like us, felt cold like us. He learned to think and talk and walk like us. He worked as humble village carpenter. He taught us a Father's forgiving love. He felt compassion for the sick and abandoned. He suffered rejection and the cruelest torture. And he died a criminal death on the cross for us. He was born to die – for love of us. A love that identified with us, a love that forgave us, a love that was crucified for us.
This brings us to the commands to love for you and me in this church. The command to love God and neighbor are not just pious suggestion for us to consider. Here is Christianity at its most critical point. Of these two commandments Jesus promised: "Do this and you shall live". Put these commands into practice and we share God's life now and forever.
If we want to love God, love God's image; we need to love also the people we meet every day. These are those who have just lost a loved one, those in the waiting line at the charity clinic, those wounded soldiers at the Veterans' Hospital, those in the home of the aged; the prisoners; the poor families that can no longer afford even the cheapest food; the increasing number of unemployed. They are the people in need – not just for material and financial help, but love and caring and faith. We will meet them every day. Will our love reach out to them?
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Ma. Theresa O. Bernardo
- Sr. Lydia Villegas, OSB
- Phoebe Thomsom
- Mon Torres, Fleur Torres, Ditas dela Paz, Bubi Camus, Lorna Guibani
… for the personal intentions of
- Ma. Theresa O. Bernardo
- Mavis Campos
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Andrew Patrick Ching Syling
- Birthday: Dr. Miguel L. Noche Jr.
- In Memoriam (+): Veronica "Bing" Rodrigo
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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