A reading from the gospel according to Mark 12:28B-34
28B One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
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.
31 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.’
33 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.”
34 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.
Reflection: Love and the Kingdom of God
Jesus summarizes the whole law and whole bible into one word: love. If we have it, nothing more is needed. If we don’t have it, everything is lost.
To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is to always remember Him and to do his will every moment of our life. We show fondness of Him by having constant conversation with Him through prayers, singing praises, reading the scriptures and maintaining a joyful attitude all the time.
To love others as we love ourselves means to treat them as we treat ourselves, to take care of them as we take care of ourselves and to work for their growth even we work for our own.
Understanding the real meaning of Love brings us near the Kingdom of God but having love in our heart brings us into the Kingdom of God.
Loving God and neighbor is much easier said than done. Therefore it must be put into practice for its value to be more appreciated. In the last verse of the gospel above, Jesus tells the scribe that he is not far from the Kingdom of God. Why did He said that instead of telling the scribe that he is in the Kingdom? It could be because the scribe has mentally grasped the meaning of love but he has yet to put it into practice.
Be that as it may, we appreciate the fact that the scribe, an expert of the Law, asked an important question although his motive may just be to test Jesus. By asking, Jesus was able to give an answer that benefits all generations who have the same question. We pray that anyone who reads this passage will not only understand the meaning of love but will also put it into action.
As Saint Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Indeed everything is nothing without love and nothing comes into existence without God. He loves us unconditionally. It is but proper that we love Him with our whole being.