Reflection on Mark 12:28-34: 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Oct 31

The Gospel of Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came near and heard the Saducees disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Let us Pray: Pour out your Spirit on your church this day

that the world may reach for the reality of what shall be

instead of living in the broken shadow of what is

through the enlightening Creator, the shining Savior, and burning Spirit. Amen. Amen. Amen.

We all need to take a few minutes and carefully read this Gospel. Most of us when we were younger in Sunday school, we learned a section of this Gospel by heart. And while we were in Sunday school, we had to make sure we lived the words. What changed as we got older? Do you truly live the words:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’? As we look around at our world, we know that this commandment isn’t being followed. People go to school board meetings and fight with their neighbors, people spread unsupported claims about the virus and about the vaccine and refuse to be cautious and look out for their neighbors. God gave us the tools to help combat this virus and we seem to forget that it is our responsibility to use these tools. If we truly believed in the first commandment: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”. We would be thanking God for the tools he has given us. If we read the Old Testament lesson of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, These are the words that reflect the words Jesus told the Saducees. Words that have stood the test of time. It was written sometime between the 5 – 7th century BCE.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Take a few minutes and honestly ask yourself: How many times a day do I think about God, Jesus, or the Spirit?  Do I take or make time to pray every day? Then ask yourself: Am I happy with my answers?  If not, are you going to make more effort to pray and spend time with God, Jesus, or the Spirit?  Or are you content with your life as it is? If our world wasn’t content with their answers and strived to be more faithful to God, Jesus, the Spirit, and our neighbors, I know we would have a better world.

There is a song by the Eagles titled “Hole in the World” which these are 2 of the verses

There’s a hole in the world tonight

There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow

There’s a hole in the world tonight

Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow

Oh, they tell me there’s a place over yonder

Cool water running through the burning sand

Until we learn to love one another

We will never reach the promised land

Words from a contemporary song that reflects the message of Jesus.

Now we have spent a few minutes reflecting: How do we strive to love our family members, our neighbor, our co-workers, or someone we happen to meet on the street?  Do we consciously strive to love every person we encounter, even the individuals we may not like? Hopefully, the time we spend with God each day makes us more aware of the people we encounter every day.   God’s love for us and our love for God should flow out from us to the individuals and the people with whom we interact, work and live.  

We now have an invitation to be mindful of the people we encounter.  Strive to be loving and kind to every individual with whom we interact.  We may find that other people will be loving and kind to us also.  “What goes around typically comes around!” Take a few more minutes and remember in today’s world it isn’t all about you.

Let us Pray. Gracious Father, we pray for your holy catholic church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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