Jesus summarizes the entire law by revealing The Two Great Commandments. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruit of Love from the Holy Spirit so he can more fully give his “all” to God and by building the Virtue of Fraternity so he can love all and build deep fraternity with some. 

Liturgy

31st Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 12:28b-34

Commentary

In stark contrast to the malformed and ill-willed Jewish leaders who have previously attacked and attempted to demean Jesus and undercut His Authority, a scribe of good will approaches Jesus with respect and an earnest desire to learn. Jesus, able to read men’s hearts with perfection, knows the scribe’s honest intentions and responds to his questions with graciousness. 

The scribe, whose vocation was to study scripture, had been pondering the great complexity of the Old Testament’s 613 commandments, and the impossible practical challenge of remembering and trying to keep them all. After pondering and failing to find the “key” to simplifying the hundreds of commandments to be better able to practice and focus on the important, the scribe seeks Jesus’ help. Jesus immediately responds with a perfect synthesis of the massive complexity of the Old Covenant into The Two Great Commandments. The first, from the great Jewish Shema (meaning, “listen”; Deut 6:4-5), refers to man’s relationship with God, and the second (Lev 19:18), refers to man’s relationship with other men. Jesus’ teaching is also a perfect synthesis of The 10 Commandments: “to love God” summarizes Commandments 1-3, and “to love neighbor” summarizes Commandments 4-10. 

The scribe, recognizing the brilliance of Jesus’ remarkable answer, now calls Him “teacher”, a great and honored title from one of the experts of the law, and praises His wisdom. Rather than simply accept the honor, Jesus responds with both Divine Knowledge and powerful Authority that assesses the scribe’s future eternal state, and pronounces the scribe’s closeness to the Kingdom of Heaven; the crowd is stunned into a hushed silence, both because of Jesus’ spectacular answer and because Jesus has revealed His authority to make a supernatural pronouncement of the eternal state of the scribe’s soul. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by Jesus’ interaction with the scribe: with Divine and Human Knowledge, Jesus demonstrates His encyclopedic understanding of Scripture (which He inspired men to write) and synthesizes, on the spot, the 613 commandments from the Torah  (120,000+ words) into The Two Great Commandments; Divine Judge, Jesus has supernatural knowledge of Heaven, assesses the scribe’s merits and offers the incredible Encouragement that the scribe of good will is, “…not far from the Kingdom of God.”

Seek the Spirit to give your “all” to God

Realize: Consider, with holy fear, the truth that Jesus desires and demands that every Catholic man is to give his “all” to God, loving God with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, and all his strength. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Creed section, I believe in God the Father (CCC 198-231).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Love so my heart is overflowing with love for the Blessed Trinity, I am inspired to solemnly give my “all” to God, and I joyfully live with the peace and happiness of being a Catholic man.

Love all and build deep fraternity with some

Realize: To keep Jesus’ commandment “to love your neighbor as yourself” is beyond the best efforts of any man and is only possible with the indwelling and constant grace of God so a man can build true friendship and fraternity. 

Believe: Reflect upon God’s Grace (CCC 1996-2005).

Pray: Jesus, Uniter of Men, help me build the Virtue of Fraternity/Affability (a part of Justice) and give me Your grace to recognize all others as brethren created by You, extend peace and joy to everyone, and build deep fraternity with a band of Catholic brothers; Lord, draw me this week into deeper communion with You and other Catholics in Your Sacrament of the Eucharist.