31st Ordinary Sunday B
Dt.6:2-6; Heb.7:23-28; Mk.12:28-34
The world adheres to something called “the bottom line”. The bottom line for most, is to make lots of money and gain lots of success, or both. The American TV shows operate according to these values: get viewers, sell advertising and make money. And they expect everyone to be like them – to be ambitious. Values like God, Jesus, religion, spirituality, fidelity and truth, are forgotten.
Jesus also had a bottom line. It was the question that He asked of Bartimeus “what do you really want?”
God’s bottom line was that He loved always all people in the world. The bible says so.
Different people may profess different bottom lines.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites did not appear to be seeking money, power and riches. The Shema Israel: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength”, a centre piece of an ancient Jewish prayer service, capsulated their single-minded worship and believe in a single, unified God. Their single mindedness in worship, was reflected in the words of Moses, about life’s one focus, one preoccupation and one real want. Their heart’s one desire was for these words to be in their heart, to be taught diligently to the children, to speak of them at home, at walk and at rest or sleep; keep them as a sign on their hands, on their eyes, on their doorposts and gates. This became the foundation of their belief.
Today’s readings are all about a loving God, the basis of everything.
Deuteronomy urges us to love God with our whole being and to keep his commandments.
The Psalm tells us that we can depend on God, our rock and our salvation. If we love God, everything else will fall into place. If we have faith in God and follow his words, we will have a good life here, and salvation after that.
Jesus added to this foundation of Jewish belief in different words:
“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.”
Then he adds, “and you shall love your neighbour as yourself“
Our closeness to God must overflow or spill over to other people.
What is the bottomline of your life? What is your life made of? To whom does it spill over?
- When Jesus was asked which commandments were the most important, he said the first thing is to love God completely. Sounds like old news, nothing new. But it’s reiterated again and again, that it is first commandment and most important.
- Jesus reminds us here that it’s the first commandment and the most important. And that there is a second. To love our neighbour like we love ourselves.
- Maybe we are thinking, then, who is my neighbour?
Actually it is everyone.
Everyone is made in God’s image.
Everyone should love God and love everyone as God loves.
Everything falls into place – there is no need for more commandments because we do not steal, cheat or kill people we love.
St. Paul reminds us when he said “love covers a multitude of sin”. Love conquers evil.
The bottom line is love God, love neighbour and love self.
Where there is love, there is God.