Friday, April 1, 2011

4/1/11 - The First of the Commandments

Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “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.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

I like this passage for a couple of reasons.

First - it boils down Christ's teaching extremely well. If we focus our efforts on loving God and loving others, everything else will fall into place. Note the depth of Christ's command, though. Love God with everything -- mind, heart, soul, and body. Then, love others as we love ourselves. We typically put ourselves first in this world, Christ is saying put others in front of us.

Note a couple of things about this.

a. It is a call to action. Christ is commanding us to do these things, not just hear and "believe".

b. Don't know about you, but I can't do either of these things on my own. Really, I can't even start doing these things on my own. We need to turn ourselves over to God to be transformed. We need the Holy Spirit. We need the transforming power of the Eucharist.

Second, this passage reinforces to us that there were Jews from the ruling class (in this case a scribe) who "got it." This scribe could understand exactly what Christ was saying, how important it was, and how it summarized the Ten Commandments perfectly. He opened his eyes, ears, and heart to the Lord, and received his teaching.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. I often think about the Two Great Commandments and their connection to the Beatitudes. Yes, we cannot do it without grace.


Leave a Comment!