Saint for the day: William of York (c. 1090 – June 8, 1154)
Tobit 6:10-11 ….8:4-9 – Psalm 128 – Mark 12:28-34
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (The “Shema Israel.” Deuteronomy 6:4)
When Jesus gives the questioning scribe the answer that he knew he already knew (every good Jew – if he didn’t know anything else – would know the “Shema Israel”) He ends by saying, “You are not from the Kingdom of God.”
How many of us can honestly say that we follow that basic precept: “love God with all your: soul; mind; strength … and your neighbor as (you love) yourself?”
If we stop and take that statement apart we might get a better insight into the depth of those words.
“With all your heart!” That place where our life force is generated. The heart which pumps life into every part of our body even to the tips of our little finger. When “neighbor” asks us for something they might use the phrase, “Have a heart… help me!”
“with all your soul” that part of us which is made in the image and likeness of God. That which makes us an extension of God’s Love and should allow us to see things as God sees them.
“with all your mind” which brings us just a little further down the road of our understanding of what it is that makes this the “greatest of the commandments” heart, soul and clear thinking. Then comes “strength!”
Sometimes when we have scripture passages like these it’s important that we keep them in the order in which they are given. If we just approach situations starting with our strength we’re more like a fighter than an extension of God’s love.
Just for today, try to reflect on what these four “commandments” mean in your life. Ask yourself, “how do I love God ….; when do I love God…’ where do I love God? After you’ve done that you can say, Amen!