Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Bishop Robert Barron
March 17, 2023
Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Gospel: Mk 12: 28 - 34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" 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." 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." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus sums up the laws of love.
It was a common practice in Jesus’ time to ask a rabbi to identify the central precept of the Law. Thus Jesus is asked, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
He gave his famous answer: “‘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.’”
All of religion is finally about awakening the deepest desire of the heart and directing it toward God; it is about the ordering of love toward that which is most worthy of love. But this love of God carries, Jesus says, as a necessary implication, compassion for one’s fellow human beings.
Why are the two commandments so tightly linked? Because of who Jesus is. Christ is not simply a human being, and he is not simply God; rather, he is the God-man, the one in whose person divinity and humanity meet. Therefore, it is impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he has embraced. The greatest commandment is, therefore, an indirect Christology.