Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: June 3. Lectionary # 356: Finally we hear of a friendly scribe who asks a sincere and profound question of Jesus. “What is the first and greatest commandment?” Jesus gives him the answer that he searched for and he praises the Lord for helping him to confirm his own conviction and faith. It is a remarkable scene and one that goes beyond the scene where the rich man asked about the commandments and how to get to the realm or kingdom of God. Jesus gave him the commandments or words of Moses that apply to others, to our neighbor, and our neighbor’s possessions. Unfortunately, the man could not go further into his interests about the future life and he turned away from following Jesus on his journey. On the contrary, in our Gospel passage for today, Jesus speaks of the first part of the Ten Words of Moses and recites the most sacred of passages about the greatest commandment. It is found in Deuteronomy 6: 4: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.” This man is so pleased with the response Jesus has given him that he praises Jesus as an excellent teacher. He then is rewarded by Jesus telling him that he is not far from the kingdom or realm of God. We can ask ourselves how close are we to the kingdom of God? Do we allow God to rule our lives? Are we as close to the kingdom as the scribe in this passage from Mark? Or are we more like the rich man who was good but remained satisfied with his own possessions rather that taking up the cost of discipleship and following Jesus. When was the last time we asked something about the kingdom of God? Mark has been guiding us throughout his gospel in the task of becoming disciples and followers of Jesus. He continues to challenge us with the cost of discipleship and the need to keep thinking the thoughts of God and not just secular thoughts. We will continue to hear the theology of the Cross and the Cost of Discipleship as two of the golden themes of the first Gospel. Are we willing to live this type of a call? Are we open to Mark’s message? Mark gives us this challenge in the first words that Jesus speaks: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” Amen.