Call to worship

Jesus tells us today that there is only one way to live within God’s kingdom. The faithful disciple must love God AND love all other people as well. Our love must be all-inclusive and not reserved for God alone.

  • To the point: When the scribe asks Jesus which is the “first of all the commandments,” Jesus answers by giving him not one, but two: love God and love neighbor. Jesus connects these commandments: loving God with all our being is the same as loving our neighbor, made possible only by self-giving. Such all-embracing love “is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices” of grain or animals. When we love as Jesus commands, we ourselves are the “burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 12: 28-34) to the first reading: The reading from Deuteronomy reinforces that we are to love God with all our being, the first commandment Jesus gives in the gospel. While loving neighbor is not as explicit, it is implied when Moses enjoins Israel to follow all God’s “statutes and commandments.” These spell out how Israel is to live in community, and care for one another.
  • Connecting the Gospel to our experience: Despite what our contemporary society proj­ects, love is not self-absorbed but other-centered, not transient but the enduring hallmark of all Christian living.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Mark 12: 28b-34)

Jesus replied, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.

Christ, so we never forget, write on our hearts
that you want us to love you
with our whole soul, our whole mind,
and our whole understanding,
and with every ounce of our strength.
And let our love for you spill over to our neighbor.
And let all of our love of neighbor come back to you
so that all things work together when we love God.

The First Reading

(Deuteronomy 6: 2-6)

Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Jesus, what does it mean? to love with all my heart,
all my soul and all my strength?
I stand in awe before this commandment.
Teach me how to love all people.
Give me your grace to learn that love sacrifices everything.

The Second Reading

(Hebrews 7: 23-28)

He is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

Not in some history book in eons past,
but in our lives, in our times,
now, today and all days,
you, Christ Jesus, offer yourself for us.
Jesus, plead our case, please, everyday. 

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection