Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/04/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Tobit 6:11; 7:1.9-14. Psalm 128:1- Mark 12:28-34.
Lectionary # 356:

Are you far from the kingdom of God? Today's selection from Mark prompts
us to ask that question of ourselves. It offers us an opportunity to do a
reality check on how our pilgrimage of faith is moving along. We are all in
this together but we need from time to time to examine our own personal
journey based on our faith commitment to the person of Jesus. We learn
from the righteous scribe to praise Jesus for giving the best answer
possible to his profound question about which commandment is first; he
means which one is the top priority one. Jesus responds with the most
revered text in the Torah: "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." Jesus adds that the second is tied in
with the first, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

A Hebrew commentary tells us, "To do something with all one's heart and
soul means to do it with the totality of one's thoughts, feelings,
intentions and desires...Israel must love and serve God with undivided
devotion and loyalty." (Etz Haim, p.1025).

Thus the scribe helps us to learn from Jesus who answers his question and
gives us the best answer possible for setting our priorities. To love God,
our neighbor and ourselves properly will give us a step toward peace,
justice, and integrity of life. This puts us into the realm of God as the
scribe was in that realm. Would it not be great to hear Jesus saying to
us, "You are not far from the kingdom of God?" It is Jesus who teaches us
how to love God and our neighbor. Jesus will bless us just as he blessed
the scribe.

In this Gospel there is little given to the praise of others; this includes
the apostles. Some of the women followers are praised but it is rare for
others to be praised as Jesus does for this scribe and for another
God-fearing young man who however cannot leave his possessions behind to
follow Jesus.

Jesus answers his question from the Mosaic Law as expressed in the book of
Deuteronomy. The answer is also the creed of Jesus' religion and that of
Judaism. He adds the commandment to love our neighbor but that too is part
of the Mosaic law. Today we can learn how to praise Jesus in the words of
the scribe: "Excellent Teacher, you are right in saying, 'He is the One,
there is no other than He." Amen.