March 16, 2007


I find today's gospel, from Mark 12, to be one of the most precious traditions recorded in the New Testament. So much of the New Testament is told from with the background of conflict, either conflict with empire or from the separation of Christianity from Second Temple Judaism. And yet today Mark gives us an utterly amicable exchange between Jesus and one of the usually difficult scribes:
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your 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.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
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.”
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.

The scribe tests Jesus, Jesus passes the test, and then Jesus affirms and compliments the scribe.

Usually the scribes are fighting with Jesus. To see such a positive exchange is a pleasant surprise. It reminds me of how much I concentrate on the negative: on the faults and foibles of others, allowing myself to be tricked into not noticing the things that make them lovable and heroic disciples of the Lord.

1 comment:

Hidden One said...

I love this passage, even moreso then I love most others. [Generally a sign I haven't thought about the others enough.] I too have a great eye for flaws and a lesser eye for good, and this passage reminds me of and reinforces so many different things that I have not the time to list them all. I have always thought that the second commandment is contained within the first, but there is much significance in its reinforcement as its own commandment - at least, to me, there is.

Sincerely in Christ,
Hidden One