The Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan
Today’s Gospel: Mark 12:28–34
Our world is full of rules and laws; they help us to define how we live. Some are set by city, state, or national governments, others are associated with the organizations we belong to, and then there are those we set for ourselves. But all of us have rules that frame the way we structure our lives and relationships and the rules we follow reveal what is important to us.
In today’s gospel, one of the scribes comes up to Jesus and asks, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Given that there are over six hundred rules or commandments in the law of God recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures beyond the ten revealed to Moses on Mt Sinai, it is no wonder that the question of relative importance was a matter of discussion and debate in Jesus’ time. In response, Jesus clearly relays how we must live our lives: loving God with everything we are (heart, soul, mind, strength) and loving our neighbor as ourselves. You see, the love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in our love of God. Jesus is reminding us as well to set our priorities straight by first focusing on God. As we read this gospel, perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Is this how I love? Are these commandments the ones that direct my life?”
May we all use this Lent as a time to re-evaluate our priorities and make time for God, and to find ways to love and serve our neighbor. What rules will you live by this day?
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)