Friday, March 8, 2013

Catholic Reading of the Day

Today's mass's Gospel reading (Mark 12:28-34) is interesting for a couple reasons.  A scribe asks Jesus about the greatest commandment.  Jesus mentions loving God above all else (which includes following God that I mentioned yesterday) and then loving your neighbor as yourself.  I try to use the latter as a guide for my life.  A couple years ago I was reading the Old Testament and found a similar quote, but read a footnote talking about how it was different in the Old and New as the Old was aimed just at the community of Israelites whereas the New was about everyone.  What is even more interesting about the reading as I look at it this morning is not the first and second commandments of love as Jesus stated, but what comes next in Mark's interpretation.  In Mark's interpretation the scribe interprets what Jesus said back to Jesus.  Jesus comments on his understanding and says he is not far from the Kingdom of God.  Could mean destined for heaven--although that is not what Jesus said.  Could just mean that if the scribe follows what he said, he will be closer to bringing the Kingdom of God to its manifestation here on earth, which is what we are all meant to do.  What is even more interesting is that after that no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.  On the one hand, perhaps his statement was taken as ultimately authoritative.  On the other hand, I find it interesting that a divine teacher would be described as so "overwhelming" that his followers didn't want to ask him anything.  That is certainly not how I or most teachers I know want the world to work.  I ponder why that is there, what it meant, and how to avoid that in my own teaching--both professionally and spiritually to 3rd graders in Sunday School.  This year's class has actually been particularly good at asking questions.  I hope my future classes will be as well.  There are very few times when I would want things to be "not like Jesus" (crucifixion being an obvious exception).  But this, interestingly, is one.      

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