07 June. Thursday of the 9th Week
2 Tim 2:8ff. Paul bears with his imprisonment for the sake of others. God always remains faithful.
Mark 12:28ff. Love of God and love of neighbour is worth more than any burnt offering or sacrifice.
Love that is Noble
Today’s reading from 2 Timothy begins with a reference to the resurrection, suggesting that while the bonds of love must be tried by fire, it is that they may become even more beautiful and pure, to be fully manifest in the resurrection from the dead. Paul speaks in greater detail about the difficulties to be mastered and overcome: even to the point of being thrown into chains, or to die with the other, that we may live with them… to hold out to the end… always to remain faithful. stop disputing about mere words… make yourself worthy of God’s approval.
We badly need each other’s help, for first this one suffers and then the other. We support one another, the strong taking care of the weak; for sooner or later the tables are turned and the strong one will turn to the partner for aid. Yet even if we fail one another, there is still hope, as Paul writes: “If we are unfaithful, God still remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
First Reading. 2 Timothy 2:8-15
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David – that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.
Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 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 neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself,’ – this is much more important that all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.