March 24, 2017
Friday of the Third Week of Lent
The Gospel Today
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “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 strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
REFLECTION (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)
We address God with very transcendent and lofty names, and it is only rightly so. In our prayers, we call Him the “Almighty and ever-living God,” “Lord God of Hosts,” or “Eternal Father.” For some people, they opt to call God in their own endearing terms, such as “Father,” “Papa God,” or something similar in other languages and dialects. We use these names for God but we must also understand what they stand for. Otherwise those names will only be void and empty of meaning.
God is a God of power and might but He also portrayed Himself as a God of tender love, mercy and compassion, who is slow to anger and always forgiving. God is a God of relationship. He is love and He asks us to also love.
In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus gives meaning in very practical and understandable terms who God is—God is a God who we must love with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. God is also a God who asks us to also love our neighbors.
God gave those two commandments by fulfilling it first through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He first loved us with all His heart, with all His mind and with all His strength before asking us to do the same in return. Knowing God is simply the same as loving Him. When we understand that God is love, we will understand the names that we use to address Him. And though we may not understand it absolutely, we are surely on the way to the kingdom of God. Loving God who loved us first is a step towards His kingdom.