Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Before beginning each activity of the day I will stop and ask myself how I can live it with love.
Lord, as I prepare
during this Lent to celebrate the great mystery of your resurrection, I come before you in prayer so
that you can form me and direct me. I long for the sinfulness of my life to be burned away so that I
can glorify you with a pure and contrite heart. You know my sinfulness. You know my pride and
sensuality. I offer you my prayer today as a small token of my love. My hope is that from the little
I am able to love, you will teach me to love with a magnanimous heart. I want to be part of your
Kingdom. I do not want to be on the fringes but to plunge myself into the depths of your
love. Conversation with
Lord, teach me to love you with my whole heart, soul and
mind and with all my strength.
1. The Proper Hierarchy of Laws:
concerning the first of the commandments was debated much by the scribes and Pharisees. There is a
human desire to know what is first and what is second: to be able to put things in order. We are
often attracted to the promise made by this or that guru about the one secret that will make us
happy, healthy, or successful in business. So, our natural curiosity is attracted to know what the
first commandment is, what we must do above all. We want to say, "Just tell me plain and simple what
I must do, and I will do it." Here Jesus lays out, plain and simple, how we must live our lives:
loving God with everything we are and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Does his command resonate
in my heart and actions?
2. Love Goes Beyond Formalism:
The scribe comments
that these laws are greater than any burnt offering or sacrifice. A sacrifice or burnt offering
without love is empty. It is love for God and neighbor that gives all of our sacrifices, trials and
good works their value. Love is at the heart of our perfection, and when we are keeping this
greatest of the laws to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength then all of the
lesser things in life will fall into place. Does my life give evidence to this hierarchy of
values? If not, what specifically do I need to do to bring about the proper order?
Longing for the Experience of God's Love:
Jesus congratulates the scribe for his
understanding and tells him that he is not far from the Kingdom of God. It gives us occasion to ask
ourselves, "How far am I from the Kingdom of God?" This scribe's knowledge was not merely book
knowledge, for it is not in simply knowing a certain number of truths that we obtain the Kingdom of
God. Rather it was an intimate knowledge of love – knowing in a practical way how to give one's
heart, soul, mind and strength to God. Is drawing closer to the Kingdom of God my biggest priority?
What do I need to do to get or stay on track? Have I humbly, confidently and fervently asked Our
Lord for the grace to help me? Do I ponder on and recognize every day God's loving presence and
providence in my life? Do I realize and thank God for his love?
Lord, help me to keep in mind your commandment of love and to
live it with all my strength. I do not want to live my faith with a
mere intellectual knowledge of your commandments; I want to
live it with a
deep intimate knowledge that bears fruits of true holiness.
Before beginning each activity of the day I will stop and ask myself how I can live it