Liturgy of the Sunday

Deel Op

Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time


First Reading

Deuteronomy 6,2-6

And hence, if, throughout your lives, you fear Yahweh your God and keep all his laws and commandments, which I am laying down for you today, you will live long, you and your child and your grandchild. Listen then, Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosperous and numerous, as Yahweh, God of your ancestors, has promised you, in giving you a country flowing with milk and honey. 'Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh. You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let the words I enjoin on you today stay in your heart.

Second Reading

Hebrews 7,23-28

Further, the former priests were many in number, because death put an end to each one of them; but this one, because he remains for ever, has a perpetual priesthood. It follows, then, that his power to save those who come to God through him is absolute, since he lives for ever to intercede for them. Such is the high priest that met our need, holy, innocent and uncontaminated, set apart from sinners, and raised up above the heavens; he has no need to offer sacrifices every day, as the high priests do, first for their own sins and only then for those of the people; this he did once and for all by offering himself. The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son who is made perfect for ever.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 12,28-34

One of the scribes who had listened to them debating appreciated that Jesus had given a good answer and put a further question to him, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied, 'This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one, only Lord, and you must 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 must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.' The scribe said to him, 'Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true, that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.' Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared to question him any more.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

"You are not far from the kingdom of God," says Jesus to the wise scribe. The harmony between Jesus and his interlocutor is in the twofold commandment to love God and neighbour; two commandments, so united as to be one and the same. Jesus is the man who knows how to love most of all and best of all. Jesus loves the Father above all things. The Gospel shows the very special relationship between Jesus and the Father. This is the reason of his own life. The apostles were taught by the remarkable confidence that he placed in the Father, to the point that he called Him with the tender name of "Dad" (Abba). And how many times have they heard that the only purpose in his life was to do the will of God: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work" (Jn 4:34)! Jesus is truly the greatest example of how we should love God above all things. Jesus loved men and women with the same intensity. For this he "became flesh." In Scriptures we read that Jesus has loved people so much as to leave heaven (i.e. the fullness of life, of happiness, abundance, and peace) to live among us. And in his life, there was like a crescendo of love and passion for men and women, even to the sacrifice of his own life.
But what does it mean to love "as oneself"? In order to understand it we must look at Jesus. He is able to point to us the meaning of true love for oneself. Jesus, who first and to the end lived these words, suggests that happiness is to love others more than oneself. These are difficult words. Who can put them into practice? We must reply that nothing is impossible to God. And in fact, we cannot learn this kind of love by ourselves or on the benches of any human school; on the contrary, in such places, and from an early age, we learn specially to love ourselves and to take care of our business against others. The kind of love of which Jesus speaks is received from above; it is a gift from God; in fact, it is God himself who comes to live in the hearts of men and women. The Holy Liturgy on Sunday is the privileged moment to receive the great gift of love. For this, on the day of the Lord, with joyous gratitude, let us approach the altar. We too, like the wise scribe, will hear the words, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."