Reflections on Scripture Thirty-first Sunday Gospel B Love is the answer

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Thirty-first Sunday  Gospel  B

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well Jesus had answered them, asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" 
· Most of the times the scribes question Jesus, not because they are looking for answers, but to trap Jesus. However, as we will see, this scribe probably is seeking the truth from Jesus.
· The reason he asked this question was that the rabbis had indicated there were as many as 613 commandments that the people were to follow. How often, as human beings, we complicate things when God makes things so simple?

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." 
· What did Jesus do? He took the first three commandments of the 10 that reflect our relationship with God and said the first commandment is to love God totally with our whole being. Then he took the other seven commandments of the 10 that focus on our relationship with others and said that we must love others.
· Later Jesus will simplify things even further by saying: “I give you a new commandment: Love (God and others) as I have loved you.”
· Love is the great commandment. Everything can be boiled down to this one command.

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." 
· What was the wisdom Jesus showed that impressed the scribe? He simplified things without compromising truth, while others complicated them.
· How simplified or complicated is our life? How can we simplify it?

And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." 
· To know the truth puts one not far from the kingdom. However, one does not embrace the kingdom until one acts upon the truth and lives it as best as possible.
· We know the truth. How well are we living the “two” commandments, that are in reality one. Is love of God and others the motive underlying everything we do?

And no one dared to ask him any more questions. 
· This week what can we do to put this teaching into practice?

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