“Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!” (Mark 12:29-30) In today’s Gospel Jesus is asked the question by a Scribe “Which is the first of all the commandments?” In the Gospel of Mark commentary – Mary Healy states that” Jesus responds by quoting Deut. 6:4-5 the great Israelite confession of faith known as the Shema (Hebrew for “hear”) Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! The Shema was and still is the central prayer and confession of faith for Jews. Devout Jews recite the Shema every morning and evening. Jewish homes usually have a mezuzah, a little box containing the Shema inscribed on parchment affixed to the doorpost. Orthodox Jewish men (and sometimes women) wear tefillin - leather boxes containing the Shema on their head and hand during prayer. “
I would strongly encourage you this week to reflect on this particular Gospel passage “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all of you 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.” Mark 12: 29-31.
Do you love God with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength? Prayerfully consider this. Is your heart divided between God and other things? Is your soul, mind and strength divided between God and other things? What can you and I do to more fully Love God undividedly? How can we change our lives so that we prefer nothing else but Jesus Christ!
Finally, do we really love our neighbor as Christ calls us to? What are the barriers present, old wounds, anger or hatred of – that prevent us from loving our neighbor as Christ calls us to? In this day and age do we really even know our neighbor?
Lot’s to think about on this 31st Sunday in Ordinary time!