Friday in the Third Week of Lent

Scripture Readings: Hos 14:2-10;  Mk 12:28-34                                   

“Which commandment is the first of all?”  What is the most important thing in life?  The scribe’s question is of the greatest importance.  It is the question the jailer asked when an earthquake sprung open the prison cells of Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?”  It’s the question young disciples asked of elderly monks in the stories of the desert fathers, “How can I be saved?”  It’s the question St. Benedict sees his disciples asking in the prologue of his Rule for Monasteries: “Lord, who shall dwell in your tent, who shall rest on your holy mountain?”  Sadducees would never ask this question because they didn’t believe in life after death.  The rich man who feasted sumptuously every day and ignored a starving person at his gate, wrongly believed the greatest thing in life was to eat, drink and be merry.  Devils don’t ask the way to eternal life because they have already lost it forever. So, the scribe speaks for all of us when he asks, “Which commandment is the first of all?”  We know the answer.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Those who love like this “are not far from the kingdom of God.”