Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-14; 8:4-9A
Gospel – Mark 12:28-34
How often have we read this gospel! Yet, upon reflection and reading our newspapers or the news on TV, the love of neighbour is far from the current or past reality. Yes, it happens, but not on the scale that could change the world.
Tobit is a good example where he gets his priorities right. Before he consummates his marriage to Sarah, he seeks first to pray with her. He clearly puts God first and shares that commitment with Sarah. He is also faithful to his father in that God comes first in one’s life the rest flows. Thus Sarah and Tobit work as one in and through love.
So, Mark helps us appreciate the power and wisdom of Jesus. ‘Love of God and love of neighbour’ are the most important principles; on these hang the whole law! Yep, 623 plus all the thousand applications and additions. In a sense placing God at the centre of our faith life is to gain clarity of mind and heart. It is tenderness and compassion that drives the heart of God, as discussed in the Feast of the Trinity.
We see our own Code of Canon law full of extras that lead to dark alleys for our minds and hearts and make us follow ways that are at loggerheads with this loving God and loving neighbour principle. Jesus demonstrates that his and God’s mind and heart are the same. Everyone is welcome into God’s home. Like Tobit, we need to get our house in order and confirm in faith and love that God is our centre and what flows from that, through us, and to us, is love.
The world would be indeed better if love was the centre as there would be no laws for protecting people or wars to protect from other countries. We would each strive to be our best through mercy, forgiveness, justice and compassion, all the underpinnings of Love – and God is love. So, the call to us today is to go and do the same as Jesus. As Passionist Family, we echo St Paul of the Cross “We carry the Passion of Jesus in our minds and in our hearts”. Love changes everything.
Paul Traynor is married to Clare and has two children Sam and Lucy. He lives in Greytown which is in the Wairarapa Region on the North Island of New Zealand. Paul is currently working as the National Passionist Family Groups Coordinator for Aotearoa, New Zealand.