31st Sunday in Ordinary Time - 4th November, 2018

Liturgical Reflection



The words of Deuteronomy (6:2-6) provide the background for this beautiful story told by Mark in his Gospel (12:28-34).

'Listen Israel: The Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart.'

With these words written on his heart, the scribe approaches Jesus with his question: Which is the first of all the commandments? He is full of knowledge about his scriptures and all the laws they impose on his people. Is his question a sincere desire for knowledge? Does he approach Jesus to test his love of the Law? The reply given by Jesus assures the scribe of his own love of the Law but he adds another dimension: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.


Let us consider the scribe as asking us the same question relevant to our own age. The love of God and our neighbour is in serious doubt, is it not? Our society on the whole ignores Jesus and his teachings, replacing these with secular concerns and a ‘go for it’ attitude towards money and position. The scribe has faced similar issues in his own society and his answer, 'Well spoken Master' supports Jesus in his stance. In our day the love of neighbour is being severely tested as we see all around us a neglect of human life and well being with asylum seekers, the unborn, and the sick aged given scant attention even by those in leadership.

The story of Jesus and the scribe is returning today in our Australian Church as we prepare for the 2020 summit. We are being seriously challenged to engage in preparatory discussions about the needs of our Church for the future.

How are we responding to questions regarding the place of women?

How has clericalism become a means of power?

How do we prepare young people for life in the Church?

Thank goodness for the young in our midst who are asking the serious questions. Our hope depends on them, and Jesus is asking for a genuine response from all of us.

Pamela Davis OP