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Lenten Weekday
Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 & 17
Mark 12:28-34
After Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, he is questioned by various
leaders and groups of leaders from ancient Judaism (including
the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others). In the midst of this hos-
tile setting, one individual scribe approaches Jesus and asks him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus, quoting
scripture replies, “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
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other
commandment greater than these.” The scribe agrees with Jesus and Jesus, seeing that
the scribe understood, tells him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
I love the Church. I love the aesthetics of the church, from the style of wor-
ship here at Holy Family, to the beautiful building we are blessed to worship
in. I love the rituals of the Church, both local and universal. I respect the
theology and teachings of the Church. I am blessed to share the traditions
of our Church, both local and universal, with my family, friends, and commu-
nity. Jesus was firmly planted in the tradition of His people, too. Yet
through his answer to the scribe’s question, he also challenges us to inter-
pret traditions in a new way; to frame the meaning and purpose of each tra-
dition according to His words.
In choosing these commandments, Jesus doesn’t intend for us to throw out
all of our rituals, traditions, ceremonies, theology, or ecclesiology. His com-
mandment “to love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor” is a call to
infuse all of our religious practices with new meaning. Coming to Mass or
participating in any of the other rituals, ceremonies, or traditions of the com-
munity isn’t what God asks of us. What He asks of us is to love. Our rituals,
ceremonies, and tradition shouldn’t define us. Our defining characteristic is
love. We are endowed by our creator with His most precious gift. We are
called to find and use that gift. It may manifest itself in many ways within
each of us individually and all of us collectively, but it is our purpose. We are