Mark 12:28-34 (31st Sunday)
One day a thoughtful, inquisitive young man went to the wilderness to visit an elderly man, a monk, who was living in the desert for many years. Arriving at the holy man’s cave, the young man saw the monk sitting outside enjoying the evening sun. The monk had a dog that lying lazily at his side. This spiritual seeker asked, “Why is it, teacher, that some who seek God come to the desert and are enthusiastic in prayer, but they leave after a year or so, while others, like you, remain faithful to the search for a lifetime?” Well, the old man smiled and replied, “Let me tell you a story. One day I was sitting quietly in front of my cave with my dog. Suddenly a big rabbit ran across in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, barking loudly, and took off after that big rabbit. He chased the rabbit over the hills with a passion. Suddenly other dogs ran barking across the creeks through bushes and thorns! Gradually, however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course and frustrated by the chase. Only my dog continued to fervently pursue the white rabbit. Does this story answer your question young man? The young man sat in confused silence. Finally, he said, “Teacher, I don’t understand. What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the search for God?” “You fail to understand,” answered the old hermit, “because you failed to ask the important question. The question is why didn’t the other dogs continue the chase? And the answer to that question is that the other dogs had not seen the rabbit. They were attracted by the barking of my dog. But once you see the rabbit, you will never give up the chase. Seeing the rabbit, and not following the commotion, is what keeps me in the desert.”
When you ask people if they’ve given their lives to Jesus, they say “yes.” When you ask if they evangelize, tithe, or read the Bible, go to mass faithfully they often say “no,” as if evangelizing; tithing, or knowing the Bible and going to mass faithfully were not essential parts of our commitment to Christ. This does not mean we must be perfect in fulfilling our commitment to Christ, but it does mean that we must make a total commitment. The reason why we fail many times in our commitment to Christ is that we are not 100 percent sure and certain that there is God, there is heaven and there is hell and God is so good and worth precious than anything else in this world. I have not personally seen Him, herd Him speak and experienced Him. If that has happened, then it is a totally different pursuit.
An honest seeker would ask honest question like: “What is the greatest of the commandments?” When Scripture says something is most important, we should pay attention! When Jesus says it, we better offer obedience! Don’t you think we should be honest seekers to understand what is most important in our Christian life? So let’s join this teacher each day as we start our spiritual journey, “O Lord, what is most important?” Then let’s commit to be obedient to what the Lord tells us and reveals to us!
Today we have the greatest commandment of Jesus for our prayer and reflection. “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 neighbor as yourself.’ Do you think that we can love God without first experiencing his love? Who can even understand what love is without the experience of a God who loves us unconditionally, freely, and completely? It is when we experience how great is God’s love for us that love for God is born with in us—a love that silences all inner opposition to the Lord and his commands. Our willingness to cooperate with the Spirit will increase as we experience God’s awesome love for us. A person who knows God’s love will dare to pray, Lord I will do anything you want me to do. I will go anywhere you want me to go. I will say anything you want me to say. I will be anything you want me to be.
If you were to see Jesus face to face today, what do you think would be the primary emotion coming from his Sacred Heart? Disappointment? Hostility? Resentment? Disgust or Apathy? Far from it! Jesus’ heart is filed with love for you. He thirsts for a deep personal relationship with you. He wants to shower you with his love so that you can bring unconditional love, joy, and peace to a hurting and needy world.
Mother Teresa was talking to a group of Hindu children placing a crucifix in front of them. Using her ten fingers she explained her whole life and spirituality. She said “He did it for me and I do it for him” Take five minutes today and kneel before a crucifix. Then ask one simple question: Jesus, how much do you love me? His arms will say it all!
The first of all commandments is: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk 12:30). The Lord says the word “all” four times. However, most Christians seem to be surprised when you tell them “all” means all. Christianity is all or nothing. Jesus died on the cross and gave everything for us that we might give everything to Him. If He’s not Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all. Jesus can save only our entire life and not parts of it. One-hundred percent is the only percent Jesus accepts. His kingdom can be purchased only by our “all”