31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B - 4/11/2018 - Gospel: Mk12: 28b-34
God's gifts
God's gifts are given to us to enable us to live life to the full and to have relationships with God and with God's creations and with others. Human love is selfish and conditional and that means our love is limited. Apart from the love for members of a family and relatives and friends we don't love everyone else as we should. It is the power of God's love given to us freely that enables us to love everyone freely.

Jesus gave insights to one of the Scribes who approached him with the assumption that God's commandments have different degrees.

Which is the first of all the commandments?v.28

The question raised probably came from different interpretations of the traditions. They grouped their laws into minor and major groupings, the minor ones were less strict while the major ones were strictly observed. This thorny issue was embedded throughout the history of the nation. The Scribe had laboured hard to reconcile the traditions but it seemed to him that his hard work could go nowhere. He approached Jesus for wisdom. After hearing the teaching of Jesus, the Scribe seemed to see the insights of the teachings of the prophets. Prophet Hosea taught that

What God want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts Hs 6,6.

Prophet Mica claims that

This is what Yahweh asks of you: to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God Mi 6,6-8

Jesus told the Scribe that

To love God with all your heart, with all your understanding and with strength and to love your neighbour as yourself, is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice v.32.

Jesus interpreted the ancient traditions in the light of scriptural traditions, citing Deuteronomy and Leviticus that loving God and loving others are unseparated.

Yahweh our God is the one Yahweh. You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength -Deut 6,4-5

You must love your neighbour as yourself- Levi 19,18

It is God's love that empowers our human love to feel and to act. We need to put God's love for others both in emotion and action- oriented rather than simply emotion- oriented. Having love others only with emotion is an empty word. It has no substance. Loving people who are in needs within your capacity to act by providing services for them is the way to make God's love real and relevant to the life of others. It is to make God's love in motion.

Jesus' teaching was new and revolutionary because their traditions taught them to offer burnt animals offering as the way to show their love for God. They couldn't understand the concept of showing love to their gods without animal sacrifices. Jesus praised the Scribe for his astute response:

You are not far from the kingdom of God.v.33

There was no evidence indicating that the Scribe followed Jesus. Being wise in having knowledge of God was insufficient for joining Jesus. It is the love deep rooted in our heart we have for God that makes us a believer. Probably the Scribes had the knowledge of God and the love and wisdom of Jesus but to follow Jesus was another matter. Having the knowledge of God was the door lead us to follow but passing the threshold with love in our heart that is what it counts. It is our love for God, not knowledge that leads us to seek opportunities to serve God.