Friday (Lent 3)

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Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Mark 12:28-34

The Greatest Commandment

 One day after I celebrated the morning Mass, a woman approached me because she wanted to confess. According to her that she committed a grave sin because she violated the third commandment of God which is, “to keep holy the Lord’s Day.’ She told me that she missed the previous Sunday Mass since she could not leave her daughter who was badly ill at that day. I told her: “Ma’am, you would commit a mortal sin if you leave your ailing daughter and then go to Mass without somebody taking care for her.” But I still heard her confession and gave the absolution.

In today’s gospel, one of the scribes comes up to Jesus and asks Him an honest question that people also often ask: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Actually there are six hundred thirteen precepts and the scribes made it a lifetime practice to study these six hundred thirteen precepts of the Old Testament along with the numerous rabbinic commentaries. They make this question maybe to test and to see if Jesus correctly understands the law as they do. Or maybe the scribe is sincere too in asking such question because at the end he embraces Jesus’ answer and makes it as his own. Jesus surprises them with His profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose.  Here Jesus lays out plainly and simply, how we must live our lives: loving God with everything we are and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God.

The first part of Jesus’ answer is from the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4). This is called Shema or “Listen up!” This is important for the Jewish people because this is their morning and evening prayers. For them these are the words to live by as well as the words to die. This is the first sentence every Jewish child should memorize and the prayer every religious Jew hopes to have on their lips when they die.

The second part is taken from the Book of Leviticus (19:18). This second commandment is the manifestation of the first. There is an intimate connection between our love of God and love of our neighbor.

Christ gives us the two great commandments of love and calls us to live them but how? I read these three beautiful ways on how to live these commandments:

First, Love through obedience. God wants us to obey Him. The great opportunity to obey Him is here by doing what He gives us to do with all its ups and downs. God does not look at what actions we can carry out, rather, He looks to see if we are willing to submit our human will to His divine will. True love is shown by obedience.

Second, Love through charity. We Catholics are called to love God above all else and thus to love all men and women more than ourselves and without partiality. We cannot say that we love God if we do not live charity beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone. God is radical and calls us to love Him in others. “What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do this to me,” He said. True love is shown by our charity.

Third, Love through prayer. We are reminded by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2658) that “love is the source of prayer.… It enables us to respond to Him by loving as He has loved us.” To love God we need to obey and to love others more than ourselves. However, this is impossible without prayer. If prayer enables us to respond, it is only because prayer is where we transform our wills. Becoming like Christ is the purpose of prayer. To love Christ is to become like Christ. To make this change takes prayer. Thus true lovers pray.

One thought on “Friday (Lent 3)

    anglhugnu2 said:
    February 29, 2008 at 7:38 am

    I have come to understand conflict occurs when one illusion meets face to face with a lie. As a Christian, we need to understand the meaning of the phrase, “they will know we are Christian by our love.” In fact, for the billions of people who occupy this planet, it would be great if all could simply understand the true unfettered presence of Love….RIGHT NOW!

    As a Christian, I have come to appreciate Jesus’ manner and behavior as invitational in style. If you were fortunate to have accepted the invite and you believed in him you would experience a measure of life and love that seemed almost infectious in nature; while there would be a few who would grumble, people would even talk about what he’d done to make you feel truly real, truly accepted, and ultimatly loved.

    If we all step back for a few minutes and see how it is Christians find their self in what seems a battle these days, I believe we would notice a great deal of aimless passion for what IS an illusion of faith. We seem to think an unconditional love can be threatened by a conditional, unstable force some call sin. A passion for such a faith will always bring frustration, confusion, and ultimately a feeling of a body facing overwhelming odds. The simple stone on the road suddenly looks like Mt Everest.

    I have long come to accept my need to aside all the do’s and don’t’s and begin to live my life in a manner that speaks to the enormous amount of giftedness and love I’ve been granted by a Father that ALWAYS cares for me.

    In other words, I have chosen to love my Self with consistency. Becoming more deeply and passionately involved with my blessings and true magnificense expands my view of what IS possible and real. While I might fret some here and there, I basically have no fear those who do not believe as I. After all, I am with God 24/7/365. I know those who can not see what I may will be watching to see how deep my love goes. Eventually, they will come to know my invitation to love is something they can understand, appreciate, and ultimately love.


    Because the greatest of all the commandments IS to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body. Since YOU are the expression of all that is God and Love, the reality strikes home how truly close we are to the one who loves always. As such, the outcome to love our neighbor as our Self will allow us to see that speck of dust upon the road we travel for what it is. The pebble upon the road is NOT the Mt Everest we once thought it to be. And, the all matters of a false faith that it is fades into nothingness….where it belongs.


    Author of IM with God

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