31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: MARK 12: 28-34
Today’s Gospel reading started with the question: “Which is the first of
all the commandments?” Jesus gave a very simple answer: “Love your God,
with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as
you love yourself.” The scribe, who asked Jesus this question, was a
scholar. He knew all the laws and taught these laws to the Jewish
people. Therefore, his question was not asked out of sincere doubt or
from a desire to know the truth; but he wants to test Jesus and wanted to
make some trouble for Jesus. Jesus knew their attitudes and intentions.
So, Jesus’ answer was very shocking to the scribes, so no one dared to ask
him any more questions.
We wonder: “Why did the scribes want to question and to test Jesus?” The
answer was very simple. An ordinary man like Jesus was getting popular!
Why was Jesus becoming popular among the ordinary people of Israel? The
reason is that Jesus interpreted the law according to the signs of the time
and Jesus practiced what He taught. That is why Jesus said: “I have come
not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law.” Jesus’ law and His
teachings were based on love and human needs. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus
was not worried about unnecessary laws and traditions. Jesus gave more
importance to love, compassion, forgiveness, and service to the people.
I am sure many of you have seen a turtle. The turtle is very safe and
secure when it pulls in its head and feet and hides inside its shell. So,
the turtle cannot experience any harm, and it cannot go anyplace, either.
It is just stuck in the middle of its path. Sometimes, we are like this
turtle. We are living in our own shells, and we do not want to come out
from these shells because we feel we are safe inside the shells. Taking
chances to love others demands total scarifies and self-giving. Never give
up on love but with hope and courage love again and again. If we do not,
we will end up like the turtles, and we are safe in our shells of
selfishness; but often, we are lonely and unloved!
Also, Jesus said, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” The Kingdom
of God is near to us, it is based on how we live our lives with our
brothers and sisters at present. Let us try to build the bridge to God’s
kingdom by loving our brothers and sisters at present, here on earth! The
greatest love we all experience from our own parents: I am sure any parents
would do anything to make their children happy, to protect them and to give
them the best they could have!
Let me share with you a meaningful story about a father’s Love and
Sacrifice for his daughter: One day, an 11-year-old girl asked her daddy,
“What are you going to get me for my 15th birthday?” Her father replied,
“Honey, please wait, now you are only 11 years old; there is much time
left.” When the girl was 14 years old, she fainted and was rushed to the
hospital. The doctor came out and told her dad that she had a bad heart
and that she was probably going to die. The girl said softly, “Daddy….
has the doctor told you that I am going to die?” The father replied, “No, you
are going to live.” She asked, “How can you be so sure, daddy?” The
father left her room weeping. A short time later, she turned 15.
After she was released from the hospital, she came home to find a letter on
her bed which read…. “My dearest daughter, when you read this letter, you
will understand why I told you that you will live. A while ago, you asked
me what I was going to give you for your 15th birthday. I did not know at
that time, but my GIFT to you was MY HEART.” Now you are living with my
heart and this is my precious GIFT for your 15th birthday! This is a
beautiful story about the father’s love and sacrifice for his daughter.
Life is AWESOME! Enjoy EVERY moment!
Let us remember the words of St. Mother Teresa, “There is no love without
surrender. There is no love without understanding. There is no love without
pain. There is no love without giving. There is no love without listening.
There is no love without caring. There is no love without the willingness
and ability to sacrifice all of these things and more. Love without
sacrifice is like an ocean without water!”