Home‎ > ‎Weekly Reflections‎ > ‎

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted 4 Nov 2018, 08:00 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London   [ updated 4 Nov 2018, 08:03 ]

Love: the key to all the commandments

In today’s Gospel Jesus has finally reached Jerusalem – the city in which he knows he will be put to the ultimate test and where there are many enemies waiting to trap him. But we hear today from one of the Jerusalem scribes who comes to see Jesus not to test him but because he genuinely wants his advice. He asks him the essential question: “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Any Rabbi would have taught that the world stands on three pillars: the Law, the worship/sacrifices made in the Temple and works of love/charity. There would have been no doubt in people’s minds that the Law came first as it gave direction to worship/love and was the foundation of life.

So Jesus’ answer, which stresses the primacy of love – love of God, and love of neighbour and of ourselves – would have been a very radical teaching. Jesus makes it clear that love comes first – love is the foundation of all aspects of life and not the Law. This is because love comes from God Himself, while the Law and worship are simply our responses to God’s love. And we can see that the scribe really likes Jesus’ answer – we can almost hear the penny drop for him! “Yes,” he repeats, “love is more important than any holocaust and sacrifice.” “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” Jesus replies – the only occasion in the entire Gospel of Mark that he praises a member of the Jewish leadership. 

“Love changes everything” as the song goes! When we love God, we naturally want to follow his ways & live his will as we know that his “commandments” are given to us out of love and for our happiness. Jesus knows that the cross awaits him in Jerusalem – the cross which unites this vertical love of God and horizontal love for our neighbour. It is when these two loves come together that heaven and earth are united and the transforming power of love is experienced. Love God, love one another and love yourself – this is the key to everything! 

With prayers and blessings, Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem and the parish team.