It’s personal

This coming Sunday is the 31st Sunday in Year B. Our gospel is taken from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is asked which of the commandments is the first and greatest. When Jesus answers the scribe, He uses the second person singular form of the verbs: “You shall love..” Jesus is telling this individual what he should do. In this way it is not a dissimilar encounter with the earlier episode of the rich young man who asks what he must do to inherit the Kingdom (Mark 10:17-22). Although the man goes away sad, he clearly understood that this was an answer to what he, personally, must do. Continue reading

A question of neighbor

This coming Sunday is the 31st Sunday in Year B. Our gospel is taken from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is asked which of the commandments is the first and greatest. Having answered the inquiry with respect to the commandment to love God as the first commandment, Jesus adds: “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Lev 19:18)  Many people think that this was a response unique to Jesus, but as noted in yesterday’s post, when challenged by a Gentile, Hillel the Elder (ca. 40 B.C.-A.D. 10) replied: “What you yourself hate, do not do to your neighbor: this is the whole Law, the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.” This was Hillel’s summary of the whole Law which, for the observant Jew, is rooted in the love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, the Shemaʿ ). The sense of there being the two great commandments was already present in Jewish thought. Continue reading

All in

This coming Sunday is the 31st Sunday in Year B. Our gospel is taken from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is asked which of the commandments is the first and greatest. Jesus has responded: 29 …“The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30 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. Continue reading

The First of the Commandments

This coming Sunday is the 31st Sunday in Year B. Our gospel is taken from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is asked which of the commandments is the first and greatest.

28 One of the scribes…asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” The response is very familiar to Christians: 29 Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30 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. 32 The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ Continue reading

Context and More Questions

This coming Sunday is the 31st Sunday in Year B. Our gospel is taken from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is asked which of the commandments is the first and greatest: 28 One of the scribes…asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” The response is very familiar to Christians: 29 Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30 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.  Continue reading

How far?

In today’s readings we encounter a familiar passage. 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.” (Mark 12:28-31)

One of the great leaders of Judaism was the sage and scholar, Rabbi Hillel. He was also the president of the Sanhedrin and the highest authority among the Pharisees in Jerusalem during the reigns of King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus. Rabbi Hillel is thought to have died during the time Jesus was a youth. Possibly he heard Hillel teach as a young boy (Lk 2:41-51); certainly, Jesus would be familiar with Hillel’s teachings as he began his public ministry.

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Getting in shape

 “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” I think the human condition is that we fall short on the “all”. And that raises the question “do we love someone or want something more than we love God?” Tough question. But think how much time, energy and emotion we spend on other things. Seems to me that time, energy, and emotion poured into a relationship will give you some inkling of the degree to which you are in love. Consider what part of your day and week you give over to God in terms of time, energy and emotion.

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Effortless

You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Do we love someone or want something more than God? “Love more than God?” that doesn’t seem right, but then again, think how much time, energy and emotion we spend on other things. Seems to me that time, energy, and emotion into a relationship will give you some inkling of the degree to which you are in love. Take a minute and consider what part of your day and week you give over to God in terms of time, energy and emotion. Perhaps a simple measure of your being in love with God – or at least a way to think about it.

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Choice and becoming

This day’s gospel is a well known story of an encounter during which Jesus is asked: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus reply is clear and unambiguous:

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.

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Living the Great Commandments

As part of our morning prayer as a community of Friars, we read the names aloud for the friars who passed away on the given day. This weekend marks the 6th anniversary of the passing of one of the true characters and legends of our Franciscan province. Brother Juniper Capece was a friar for 60 years, was our provincial tailor, and was the keeper of many of the stories of the friars – you know, the ones that never get written down, but bring everyone to tears because we are laughing so hard. Continue reading