31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018 – Year B

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 12:28b-34

In today’s Gospel Jesus is once again in dialogue with a lawyer. But unusually this meeting is a positive experience for both. Most of his interactions with lawyers were confrontational – they were trying to catch him out or use his words against him. But he was always able for them.

But in the Gospel today we have a lawyer who wants to do his best and he asks Jesus which commandment is first of all. Jesus answers him with two commandments, repeating what we heard in the First reading from Deuteronomy, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. But Jesus quickly adds the second commandment: You must love your neighbour as yourself. And then he says, “there is no greater commandment than these two.” They are the two sides of the one coin.

The lawyer agrees with Jesus. In response Jesus tells him that he is not far from the kingdom of God.

He’s nearly there, but not yet! It’s like the marathon runner: they’re approaching the finishing line and they just need that little extra bit of energy to get them over the finishing line. Don’t give up, you’re nearly there, their friends shout at them.

But the lawyer is not far, but he’s not there yet. He’s close.

So how can he get to the finishing line having done all so well up to now? What’s needed to get over the line?

It’s about moving beyond what I know in my head to actually doing it! I know if I keep running I’ll get to the finishing line. But my body is wracked with pain and tired! Come on, lift that foot, and now lift the other, keep doing it, the line is getting nearer all the time.

So too my sisters and brothers in this Christian life: we know what we should do. So…. just go do it! As best you can every day of your life. And so play your part of making God’s kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Before you leave the church today, take a few minutes to examine your life and ask yourself the question: what thing do I know I should do so that I’m even a better person, child of God than I already am? And then let me commit to doing it, now, today.