3th Week of Lent
Friday, 29th March 2019
Hos. 14:2-10; Ps. 81(80):6-9,10-11,14,17 Mk. 12:28-34 (Ps Wk III)
Hosea was an Old Testament prophet. A prophet was a person who brought God’s message to the people, and it was often a challenging one. Earlier Hosea had been dwelling on Israel’s betrayal of the covenant with God and here Hosea presented the Israelites with the way back to the Lord — the way of salvation and repentance. If the Israelites turned back to the Lord, Hosea assured them that God would receive them, have mercy on them and love them. The relationship between God and the people would be totally restored. This message applies to our own lives today if we are wise enough to heed these words.
A scribe had been listening to Jesus and was impressed with his responses to the people, so he asked Jesus a very important question: “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered with a quote from Deuteronomy 6. This is called the Shema, Judaism’s most important prayer. Then Jesus continued with a quote from Leviticus 19 affirming the importance of loving one’s neighbor. Love of God and love of neighbor were linked together and were declared the most important commandments. The scribe agreed that these two commandments were greater than temple sacrifices. Jesus declared that the scribe was not far from the kingdom of God.
We also face the same question: Do we follow Jesus’ teaching to love God and neighbor more than our religious devotions? It is a delicate balance!
Lord, help me to love You and others above all else.