07Jun 07 June, 2018. Thurs. of Week 9

1st Reading: 2 Timothy (2:8-15)

Remenber and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ

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.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 25)

R./: Teach me your ways, O Lord

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my saviour. (R./)

Good and upright is the Lord;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way. (R./)

All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction. (R./)

Gospel: Mark (12:28-34)

Love of God and love of neighbour excel all ritual sacrifice

One of the scribes heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus 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 aother 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.

BIBLE

Love that is noble

Today’s gospel links love with commandment, or Torah. Normally we do not think of love as a law but as a spontaneous response of one person to another. The noblest form of love is a giving of self, “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” It reaches out to others and loves them for themselves, to “love your neighbour as yourself.” Such love is “worth more than any burnt offering or sacrifice.” Without love everything else loses in value, while with it we are “not far from the reign of God.”

Writing to Timothy, Paul speaks facing up to dangers for the faith, even to the point of being thrown into chains, or being willing to die with Christ, that we may live with him. He urges Timothy to hold out to the end, always to remain faithful and not to haggle about mere doctrinal formulae. The main purpose of living is to gain God’s approval.

We 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.”


A question of priority

Jesus was asked several questions about how we should relate to God. One of these is in today’s gospel. A lawyer comes up and asks him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” There were a lot of rules and regulations in the Jewish religion at that time. He wanted to know which one was the most important.

Our Lord’s answer went well beyond the question. He was asked about the first commandment; but his reply includes both the first and the second commandment. The first is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is to love our neighbour as ourselves. In that way he shows that these two commandments are inseparable. We cannot love God without loving our neighbour, and in loving our neighbour we are, at the same time, loving God. Yet, the two commandments are not on the same level, one is first and one is second. It is the love of God which is to be the primary love in our lives. We owe the greatest devotion to God. As Jesus says in one of the other gospels, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” God as revealed in Jesus is to be our greatest love. If we are caught up into a loving relationship with God, it will overflow into a love of all those whom God loves, and our various human loves for other people will reflect something of God’s love for them.


CANDLE

(Saint Colman of Dromore, bishop)

Various saints named Colman are mentioned in Irish martryologies, the most famous being those of Cloyne, Dromore, Kilmacduagh and Linsdisfarne. The Colman we celebrate today came from Dromore, in the Lagan valley of County Down, Northern Ireland. Little is known of him, but apparently he was a student at the monastic school of Nendrum, located on Mahee Island in Strangford Lough. He then went to perfect his knowledge of the Scriptures at the school of St Ailbe at Emly in south Tipperary, where he stayed some years (perhaps around 470 or 475). He returned to Nendrum and acted for some time as assistant to Mochay, before returning to Dromore, to set up a monastery there at the beginning of the sixth century.

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