Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday of the third Week in Lent

(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)

A number of years ago a Jesuit theologian wrote a disturbing article entitled, “The Eclipse of Love for God.” He said that what was one primary to our Christian faith -- our love for God -- is now often dismissed. Some, he said, replace the love for God with love for neighbor. Others, he continued, believe that the command to love God is only another way of stating the need to love oneself! Gratefully, the theologian advised that the commandment to love God still stands and can be fulfilled.

“How?” we might ask. Pope Benedict has suggested that we show our love for God by refraining from things that we enjoy. Foregoing desserts for God’s sake, for example, shows one’s love for Him. We also show our love for God by being faithful to prayer and worship. Many wonder how God permits catastrophes like the one that has befallen Haiti. Fervent prayer in these cases indicates that we love God and recognize his sovereignty over creation even though we do not and cannot comprehend His ways.

Jesus’ response to the scribe’s insight in the gospel is telling. He says that the scribe is “not far from the Kingdom of God” because he recognizes the necessity of loving God. Doing it – loving God above all things – will place him squarely in the heart of that Kingdom.