Faith Daily | 3 June 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p547
Almighty and everliving God,
increase in us your gift of faith,
so that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before us,
we may run the way of your commandents
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 12: 28-34
28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Kay Murry
Lucky me! This reflection is on perhaps my favourite piece of scripture - the 'Two Great Commandments'. I imagine that Jesus in answering the scribe had in the back of his mind the Hebrew verse he must have learnt from childhood, Micah 6:8 - 'What does God expect of you?... Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God'.
Like the Micah 6:8 verse, Jesus' two commandments sound pretty straightforward and brief, but it seems to me that in both the devil, as they say, is in the detail - what is justice in any given situation? how do you define 'humbly'? And, as Luke, in his telling of the Two Great Commandments event, has the questioning lawyer ask, 'wanting to justify himself' - And who is my neighbour? There is an answer to that, of course, in another story...
Back to the Two Great Commandments: Matthew has Jesus add 'On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets'. Which is a relief, if like me you find some of the details in the Law of the Old Testament more than a bit daunting. Mark's scribe, having heard Jesus' answer to his question 'Which commandment is the first of all?' appears to 'justify himself' with an approving summary and interpretation of Jesus' reply! This seems to me to be rather bold presumption, but Mark has Jesus answering with not a criticism but an affirmation: 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God'. That holds out to me the promise of the ultimate blessing for doing my best to live the Two Great Commandments. In whatever circumstance, I need to be open to what it means to be loving God and my neighbour and so what action is required of me. Then hopefully I too will be 'not far from the Kingdom of God'.
FINAL PRAYER: “Living Benediction: Brief Prayers for Australians Volume 3” Bruce D Brewer
Spirit of vitality,
help us to want you without wandering,
and to love you without wearying.
Then shall our daily lives become a wonder to us
and a living benediction among all creatures.
For your love's sake,