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Eternally New

Which is the first of all the commandments?
Mark 12:28-34

Sermon Topic Love

Sermon Week Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 12:28


In today's Gospel Story Jesus is walking in the Temple area and various Chief Priests, Elders, Pharisees and Scribes approach Him with questions designed to entrap Him. Today's Lesson describes one such encounter-with a Scribe. The Scribes were highly respected by the Jewish Community because of their superior knowledge of religious law and their ability to interpret it for the people. Most Scribes were also Pharisees. They insisted on strict observance of the law, down to the last detail. Jesus had been teaching that it was the "spirit" rather than the "letter" of the law that really mattered. Consequently, the Scribes saw Him as a threat to their authority. They questioned His authority to teach in God's name. They called Him a blasphemer. They charged Him as a law-breaker when He placed human values above strict adherence to oppressive laws. They found fault with His friendly attitude toward public sinners. They said He was in league with the devil. They plotted His execution. They were members of the arresting party and were present at his trial. They mocked Him on the cross. And, as we have read, it is one of their number who decided to test Jesus with this question: "Which is the first of all the commandments?" (Mk.12:28).

Jesus answered .... . You shall love the Lord your God

with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

This is the second,

You shall love your neighbors as yourself" (Mk.12:30-31). "There is no other commandment greater than these," He said (Mk.12:31). "Excellent, Teacher!" the Scribe replied, adding that the law of love of God and neighbor is "worth more than any burnt offering or sacrifice" (Mk.12:33). Jesus and the Scribe were in complete agreement on a point of law. The Scribe had no quarrel with Jesus' interpretation of the law. This was a rare occurrence! To this Scribe, Jesus said, "You are not far from the reign of God." To his credit, the Scribe knew that all the commandments are summed up in the one great commandment of love. All [...]

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