31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

PARISH PRIEST’S REFLECTION
Deuteronomy 6:2-6 | Hebrews 7:23-28 | Mark 12:28-34

THEME: LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR IS MUCH MORE THAN ALL WHOLE OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES

Our Second Reading this Sunday taken from the letter to the Hebrews captures clearly what it means to love God and to love neighbour:

Jesus is the true example of perfect love – “He is a High Priest, Holy, Blameless, Unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the Heavens.  He has no need, like those high priests (of the Old Covenant), to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people: HE DID THIS ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF.”

Jesus offered, up Himself unreservedly.  He gave everything He had because He gave His life.  This was a total sacrifice that is not repeated and it resulted into life in His own self and life for those who follow Him through the resurrection.

So when the Scribe in the Gospel asks Jesus about the First Commandment:

“Which commandment is the First of all?”  He answers: “You shall love the LORD your God with All your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with All your strength.  And you shall love your NEIGHBOUR as YOURSELF.”

If we do not surrender ourselves to God and we think that we can surrender offerings, and sacrifices, which are not ourselves, but other things, then we miss the point of what love is all about.

Suppose a parent offers a child all the money and other utilities, but he/she is not present for the child, the child will not feel loved.  Some parents send food stuffs and money to their children on visiting days without going there and some of the children express total dissatisfaction.   One said to them that if you do not have time to come and see me, you may as well not send your food!

So in a similar way, offering sacrifices and offerings to God when our hearts, souls, minds and strength are absent from the presence of the LORD; Love is absent also and there is no relationship between ourselves and our God.  This also applies to the relationships between human beings.

So love of God and love of neighbour is surrendering our own selves to each other.   The Kingdom of God requires us personally and not what we offer and sacrifice, not animals and birds or money whatever we offer makes meaning if it represents our own self. We must therefore be HOLY, BLAMELESS, UNSTAINED, AWAY FROM SIN, and AIMING AT God’s presence.

So as the First Reading recommends, if we are seeking a blessing from God, we should be careful to be present in the life of God.

Love is a transformation of our lives – It is Conversion

Msgr. Gerard Kalumba
Christ the King Parish, Kampala