Glimpses of God’s Goodness – October 31, 2021 – Sister Maureen O’Brien, SNDdeN
Mark 12: 28 – 34
The children of the Mississippi Children’s Choir are marvelous singers and proclaimers of
the Good News. A rousing double Amen to them! In the lyrics of the refrain of their
You Tube video of “The Good Samaritan Song,” they raise up the second part of Jesus’
teaching in today’s Gospel from St. Mark chapter 12, verses 28b-34 about love, relationships
and the neighbor and make it accessible to us.
I am a true believer. My brother and my sister’s keeper. If he/she’s in trouble, So am I.
After more years than I care to admit, I’ve come to the truth that love isn’t about commands.
Our Triune God, I believe, calls out to us and invites us into an ever-deepening relationship
with the Trinity so dynamic that it enables our hearts, souls and minds to use every bit of
strength we possess to love God in return. And the loving doesn’t stop there. The experience
of God’s love becomes the basis for how we choose to live and to relate to others because we
are given the capacity to love ourselves, just as we are, just as God does.
Neighbor may be one of the most dangerous words in our vocabulary. It tempts us to want to
shape its meaning into our own personal image and likeness. Quite a power trip! One which
reaches out for walls and gates so that only we and not people who don’t look like us can
come in. One which fails to realize that we can’t get out!
Today’s Gospel is about love and relationships. A love made so clear in the parable of The
Good Samaritan, St. Luke, chapter 10, verses 30-37.
In the refrain the children sang, “I am a true believer. My brother and my sister’s keeper,”
the expansiveness of Jesus’ teaching becomes clearer. No exclusions are allowed in
the kingdom. All humanity belongs because the common link is that we are brothers and
sisters. In St. Luke’s parable of The Good Samaritan: a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan,
three religious men see a traveler who was robbed, stripped and badly beaten. The first two
pass him by. The third recognizes a brother and ministers to him. Not an easy thing to do for
a Samaritan. And neither does today’s Gospel have an easy teaching for us.
Mark 12: 28 – 34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: 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. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Maureen O’Brien, SNDdeN