Soul Food for the Hungry Adult: 31st. Sunday. November 4, 2012.

31st Sunday, Year B. St. Mark’s Gospel Chapter 12, verses 28-34.

‘The love in your heart was not put there to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.’

‘Write them on the doorframes of your houses.’ (Deuteronomy 6:9)

Q. Which of the 613 Laws is the most important? A. Just these two!, said Jesus.

And Jesus told this honest questioner which two they were.

You see, Jesus has now (in Mark 12) arrived in Jerusalem, just before beginning the time of his Passion. Here he meets a Jewish Scribe, a person who had studied all the Laws inside out, and this honest and good Scribe comes to Jesus, with a question from the heart. It’s not like the question that the Rich Young Man put, a couple of weeks back, when he asked Jesus ‘What must I DO to gain eternal life?’ He had wanted to BUY his way into heaven.

This Scribe asks ‘which is the greatest of the commandments’,- of the 613 regulations or laws in the Jewish code. Jesus goes to the heart of it, reminding the man of that text so dear to every good Israelite, a text to be written out and nailed (in a little box called the MEZUZAH) to the doorpost of their homes: It is from Deuteronomy Chapter 6, verses 4-9: Here is the full text: (It’s our First Reading, today):

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Lovez the Lord your God with all your hearta and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.8  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.e Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.’

Jesus did one more thing. He linked that commandment to one other: ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Put the two together, write them in your hearts, make them your daily practice, and you are spot on! ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God!’

To love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength,- that’s what it’s all about. Life is for Loving.

Jesus put it another way, during his final discourse: ‘Love one another as I have loved you!’ – the way I have loved you, and as much as I have loved you!  (John 15) He showed us how by washing our feet, and then dying for us and rising for us.

Greater love than this no-one has, that a man would lay down his life for his friends, – and you are my friends!’ (John 15)

‘God so loved the world that he sent his only Son!’(john 3:16)

‘The Word was with God, the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and made his home among us.’ (John 1)

Or here is how St. John put it, near the end of his long life:

God’s Love and Ours:  First Letter of John, Chapter 4:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Or St. Paul, writing to the Roman Christians: Ch 5:5:  ‘God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.’

Or  St. John, in his Gospel, at the start of his account of the Last Supper: ‘Having loved his own, he loved them to the end.’ (John 13:1)

At the heart of the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists,  was this simple message: Return love for love.  Or St. Teresa of Avila Love seeks a return of love.’

There’s eating and drinking in this, for a life-time and beyond. Enjoy.

‘The love in your heart was not put there to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.’

Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

seamus.devitt@redemptorists.ie

 

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