Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus and the scribe 

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  Mk 12,28-34

This one of the today gospel  is the only dispute of Jesus without polemical tone. Indeed, this is just a nice skit in which it is not clear who is the master and who is the pupil. “You have well said, Master” says the scribe. “Bravo (implied)!, you are not far from the kingdom of God” answered Jesus from the height of his role. This scribe, in fact, agrees on everything  which Jesus says.  He also agrees that the second commandment is to love our neighbor and that this is indeed similar to the first commandment, to the love for God . The identification of love for God and neighbor is  vital because it allows the man to live in harmony with himself, being no more torn between the one and the other love, each of which always requires everything. From this second commandment a reconciled person  is born, to the point of seeing the face of God in the people which we meet  every day. Moreover, from the Christian concept that God is Father it follows that if there is divine fatherhood if there is fraternity among the men. Of course, that God whom we see in the brother takes different images: he is a God glorified in the “holy” and crucified in the “sinner”, but it is always the face of God This identification between the first and second commandment, which was introduced by Jesus, is a novelty in the history of Israel and as such it would have meet a refusal by a conservative spirit, as the one of the scribe was. The scribe of today, however, perhaps to show up theologically ahead, agrees with the statement of Jesus.  However, despite this theological harmony on the commandments, this scribe is close to the kingdom of God, but he has not yet entered there. What is preventing him from going in? It is the fact that he recognizes in Jesus the Teacher, but not the Lord, and  it is possible to enter the kingdom only if we acknowledge the lordship of Jesus. This  matter could apply only to the scribe, if it would not be for the fact that we too run every day the risk of recognizing Jesus as a teacher and not as Lord.  It is enough to look the  Scriptures only with the mind, without involving the heart and the faith.

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