One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘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.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Often, when people in the Gospels ask Jesus questions, their goal is to entrap him, to force him to assert an unpopular or unpalatable opinion. Then, if they can get Jesus to put his foot in mouth, they can reject him and leave the challenge of the Kingdom of God behind them in the dust. We ask these questions, too. When the challenges of faith block us, when our crosses are too much weight, we might be tempted to ask those trap questions of Jesus. But in our better moments we might, like the scribe in today’s Gospel, act as true seekers and ask God those questions we carry deep in our hearts. After hearing such a question, Jesus responds that the seeker is “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
This Lent, seek the scribe’s disposition: search your heart, examine your desires, and ask Jesus those questions that can bring you closer to the Kingdom of God.
Entrusting Myself to the Hands of Jesus
I’ve come to think that the only, the supreme, prayer
we can offer up, during these hours
when the road before us is shrouded in darkness,
is that of our Master on the cross:
‘In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.’
To the hands that broke and gave life to the bread,
that blessed and caressed, that were pierced;…
to the kindly and mighty hands that reach down
to the very marrow of the soul-that mould and create-
to the hands through which so great a love is transmitted-
it is to these that it is good to surrender our soul,
above all when we suffer or are afraid.
And in so doing there is a great happiness and great merit.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!