In today’s Gospel reading, one of the scribes asked Jesus what was the most important commandment of God. Jesus told him that the most important rule was to love God with everything – our heart, our soul, or mind and all our strength. The next most important rue is to love others as much s we love ourselves.
God made us to love Him. We will never be really happy unless we do. But if we keep God first in our lives then everything else will happen the way God wants it to. If we love God first, then we can love others the way God asks. What can you do to keep God first in your life? How about saying a prayer as soon as you wake up in the morning , and last thing before you go to bed at night?
I imagine that most of you have a list of rules like this in your classroom at school. If we walked through every classroom in your school, we would probably see a list of rules hanging on the wall. Even though there might be some slight differences, most of them would say pretty much the same thing. They would say things like:
Obey the Teacher
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Be Kind to others
If you were to ask me which classroom rule is most important, I know what I would say. I would say that the most important rule is to respect and obey your teacher and the second is very much like it — be kind and show respect for your fellow students. If we would just follow those two rules, there really wouldn’t be a need for any more.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day liked to sit around and discuss the law. They especially liked to ask Jesus questions about the law hoping to trick him into saying something that would cause people to turn against him. One day they were questioning Jesus and he answered them with one good answer right after another. One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Most of you know the ten commandments, don’t you? How would you answer that question?
This is how Jesus answered. He said, “The most important commandment is this: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment is greater than these.”
After hearing Jesus’ answer, no one else dared to ask him any more questions!
What a wise answer. If we could just keep those two commandments, we wouldn’t have any trouble keeping the rest of them, would we? Let’s go to the Father and ask him to help us.
Closing prayer: Dear Father, help us to love you with all our heart, soul, and strength — and to love one another as we love ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
As Christians, our moral behaviour is guided by the two-part commandment taught by Jesus in today’s Gospel: love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Many of us learned to use this framework as an examination of conscience. By examining our lives through the lens of these commandments, we have learned that the challenge of these commandments is not in our desire to follow them but in our capacity to consistently honour these commandments in our daily lives.
For one week, identify and collect news reports of how Christians show their love for God by loving and serving their neighbour. Clip these news items and share what you have heard when you gather as a family. Read together today’s Gospel, Mark 12:28b-34. Talk about ways in which your family might contribute to the examples of Christian service you found. Choose one of these actions to do together as a family. Conclude in prayer together asking God to help us show love to our family members and friends. Pray together the Act of Love.
Gospel Mark 12:28-34
‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must 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 must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.