Friday of the Third Week of Lent
(Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34)
Jesus’ “first commandment” in today’s gospel originates in the Book of Deuteronomy. It is taken from a famous passage known by its first words, “Shema Yisrael” – “Hear, Israel”. The passage then dictates the commandment that Jesus cites and concludes by saying that the words should hang “as a pendant on your forehead.” Probably the author never intended a literal pendant, only that Jews would fix the command firmly in their minds. But, as in many things religious, some fanatics started to wear headbands with receptacles carrying the written words. There is challenge enough with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
To love God with all our heart means to love Him unreservedly. We cannot love Him in this way if we are going to love at the same time contrary things. We cannot love God and at the same time look at pornography. The soul is the seat of supernatural life. To love God with all our soul is to love Him so that we may have the fullness of supernatural life in heaven. It is to love Him by carrying out His will that we forgive and assist others in need.
When we love God with all our mind, we take care to learn more about Him. We read books and magazines that help us understand His ways. And when we love God with all our strength we make sacrifices for Him. Our added prayer and fasting during Lent are signs of a strong love for God.