“Hearing the Loving Invitation of the Lord, knocking at the door of our hearts, and in turn, expressing to Him our love and affection!”
(Based on Tob 6:10; 7:1,9-14;8:4-8 and Mk 12:28-34 – Thursday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)
A nurse who was known to be very jovial and kind, on the paediatric ward, before listening to the little ones’ chests…
… would plug the stethoscope into their ears
… and let them listen to their own heart.
Their eyes would always light up with awe.
Once as she was doing this with a four-year old boy named David, she was amazed to hear his response!
Gently she tucked the stethoscope into little David’s ears…
… and placed the disk over his heart: ‘Listen’, she said, “What do you suppose that is?”
David drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap…
… tap, tap… tapping deep in his chest.
Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin…
… and he asked: “Is that Jesus knocking?”
This beautiful incident reminds all of us of the Gracious Presence of the Divine in each one us…
… knocking at the door of our heart, every moment
And inviting us: “Do you experience My Unconditional Love, and are you ready to offer your love to Me?”
The Gospel of the Day, is a challenging invitation to reflect on this fundamental aspect of our Christian Life…
… with the mention of a scribe, who had been watching his fellow-scribes in an argument with the Lord, and feeling impressed with Jesus, coming up to Him with a question:
“Which commandment is the first of all” (Mk 12:28)
We are not too sure of the motive of this scribe.
As per the versions of the same incident, in St Matthew (Mt 22:35) and St Luke (Lk 10:25), the person posed this question to Jesus, in order to “test him”.
The Markan version is however, silent on this aspect.
But whatever be the intention, the scribe most certainly was reflecting a common query that was widespread among the teachers and scholars of the Law:
Which was the greatest commandment or law?
God had issued the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel.
These laws were intended for the people of Israel to be “distinguished” as the chosen nation of the Lord – chosen from among all others in the world.
These laws – simple and direct in nature – were aimed towards demanding a total commitment and loyalty from the part of the people, to the Lord.
However, over time, these uncomplicated laws by which the people of Israel were to live…
… began to be expanded and extended and expounded.
It resulted in 613 commandments or stipulations:
365 of them (corresponding to the number of days in a year) were negative commandments, as in ” You shall not…”
And 248 of them (corresponding to the number of bones and major organs in the body, as per the Jewish understanding) were positive commandments, as in “You shall…”
When the Lord was asked to mention the First of all these Commandments, He puts forward the basis and the foundation of all these various laws, stipulations and commandments:
“You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk 12: 30)
And “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12: 31)
Note the insistence on the word “all”….
… “all” your heart… feelings, emotions, desires
… “all” your soul… will, choices, decisions
… “all” your mind… reason, knowledge, memory
… “all” your strength… talents, abilities, capacities
The Lord commands and demands a “total” and “complete” loving!
He does not permit compromises to let our wishes to slide through…
He does not allow framing excuses to let our desires to be fulfilled…
He does not consent devising justifications to let our inclinations be satisfied…
He demands an “absolute” and “unadulterated” love!
As Christians, we often…
… seek to find “loopholes” in laws of loving the Lord and our neighbour…
… try to spot “gaps” in commandments which ask to love the Lord and our neighbour…
Our selfishness often creeps in…
Our personal desires often spoil it…
Our sinful tendencies often gain an upper hand…
But the insistence of the Lord is clear:
This is the ideal to which we, as Christians are called!
If not for this highest ideal, our life as a Christian would cease to have a uniqueness!
If not for this loftiest ideal, our life as a Christian would fail to be different from others!
Each of us as Christians are called…
… “to be holy”
… “to be set apart”
… “to be different”
This holiness comes when we seek for the highest ideal…
… loving God totally and expressing this love wholly to our neighbour.
This setting apart comes to fruition when we seek for the premier ideal…
… giving to God entirely and articulating this self-giving in humble service of others.
The call is indeed great and very lofty…
The Lord is knocking at the door of our heart, every moment…
… inviting us to “experience His Unconditional Love, and calling us to offer our love to Him!”
Shall we, at this moment… place our hands on our heart…
… hear His Loving Invitation and answer Him:
“Yes Lord, I recognise it’s You… knocking at the door of my heart… I LOVE YOU, LORD!”
God bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?
The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love:
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness!
Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after His example.
The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”
“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”
“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods (Cf. CCC # 458-460)