31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 4/11/2012 - Gospel: MK 12, 28b-34
Before the prayer over the offering, the priest invites the congregation that:

Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.

Brethren in this context are those worshipping in that community at the given time. In general Jesus meant the word brethren for everyone. There is no exception, it includes those whom you don't know and may have ever known. It sounds a bit bizarre but it is the reality because we are all created by God and the Passion of Jesus is for all.

Jesus taught us to love God with our mind and heart so that we might extend this same love to our neighbours. When we love God and don't love our neighbours we only love God in theory, not in practice. When we love other creatures and don't love God it is idolatry since we love creatures and forget to love their Creator. When things of this world possess us we are slave to it and have no time for others. God must be the supreme focus of our love. Jesus told us that the great commandment is to love God. Loving God with all our hearts will help us with everything.

Love works most affectively when it is given in time and in place. I need someone to listen or talk to and you are available. I appreciate your call when I feel lonely. I am down and you give me a word of encouragement. I am a stranger and you smile at me. I don't know what to do with my hands and you offer yours. I am lost and you show me the way. I am thirsty and you offer me a cup. You may ask how do you know when and what I need so you can offer? Just offer and you are right most of the time because by the time you know what I need it is often too late. Love works even when I am happy too. I need someone to share my joy and you congratulate me. I need someone to laugh with and you come to my party. I need someone to give thanks to God and you join my song.

Another sign of our love for our neighbours is to forgive and provide service for others. Each of us is called to give generously of what we have received from God- whether it is a little or a lot. Some have wealth, others have talents, and others have time. Whatever gifts we have we share generously. When we do, we make the world a better place for both today and tomorrow.

Jesus calls us to remember that we are all God's children. Just as He loves us all and is willing to forgive our sins, we must be willing to forgive others who have done wrong to us. We are called to put our faith into practice and truly love our neighbours. God has given each of us unique talents and gifts to use in His service. Each of us has something to offer to someone in need. It is either money or time or friendship. Begin to give unselfishly at home to your family members and extended it to work place and the faith community to which you belong.

It would seem that the more we give to others, the poorer we become. It doesn't work that way but it works opposite.  Service giving to others brings meaning and fulfilment to our lives in a way that wealth and prestige can never match.