A scribe in today’s Gospel from Mark 12:28-34, asks Jesus the question … “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus would answer the scribe and listen to the scribe elaborate further on his answer. Jesus responded to the scribe saying … “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” I would love to hear my Lord assure me as he did the scribe. So what was the answer of Jesus?
“The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall 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 shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
How am I doing with this commandment? Love is a difficult decision. At times, I do very well and other times I am not sure. It is my hope to love by God’s standards and not by the standards of the world. But I realize that the world can sure be a challenge.
I found great encouragement in today’s first reading of St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy 2:8-15.
If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.
I took great comfort in God remaining faithful even when I am unfaithful. I believe that we all are unfaithful to God in some or many ways. We can get so caught up in the world and what it is trying to sell us and we forget about love of God and love of neighbor. With such a faithful God, let us never deny him. And of course with the help of his grace, maybe we are all not that far from the Kingdom of God.