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, and you shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 10:29-31
God of peace,
you taught us that in retuning and rest we shall
be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: by the power of your Spirit lift us
to your presence, where we may be still and
know that you are God; through Jesus Christ
our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
- Ruth 1:1-18
- Psalm 146
- Hebrews 9:11-15
- Mark 12:13-17, 28-34
- Ruth 3:1-5, 4:3-17
- Psalm 127
- Hebrews 9:(19-22) 23-28
- Mark 12:38-44
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 23 – Mark 12:13-17, 28-34
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength …’ ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself …’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus “synthesizes” his message in the “Great Commandment.”
The Jews knew these two commandments well. To this day, observant Jews pray twice daily the Shema: to love God “with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.” The word shema means “to hear,” and comes from the first words of the prayer, “Hear, O Israel …” The text for the Shema, which is also inscribed in the “mezuzah,” the small container affixed to the door of every Jewish home, is found in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (today’s alternative first reading). While the Torah outlined a Jew’s responsibility to one’s neighbours, Jesus is the first to make of these two a single commandment: “There is no other commandment greater than these.” The only way we can adequately celebrate our live for God is in extending that love to our neighbours.
To love as God calls us to love demands every fibre of our being: heart, soul, mind, and strength.
It is in our love and compassion for one another that humanity most closely resembles God; it is in our charity and selflessness that we participate in God’s work of creation.
In the two “great commandments” we discover a purpose to our lives much greater than our prejudices, provincialism, and parochialism; in them, we find the ultimate meaning and purpose of the gifts of faith and life.
Our rituals and sanctuaries mean nothing before God if they are devoid of the love and compassion Christ calls us to embrace. It is too easy to be so caught up with externals and rubrics that the essence of our faith slips away from us.
God’s kingdom is realised in every act of compassionate charity and selfless sacrifice, when our humanity most resembles God; it is built of the respect and honour we afford to all God’s sons and daughters, for in our love and care for them, we most sincerely praise God.
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