Lenten Prayer Reflection by Michael Manukian

Mar 28 2014

MK 12:28-34
“You shall love the God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” According to Jesus, this is the first and most important of all the commandments. Jesus is trying to tell the scribe in this passage, and in essence all of his followers, that God should be of the utmost importance in their lives. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is, according to Jesus, the second greatest commandment. Through these words to the scribe, Jesus is trying to get across the message that showing kindness to others is one of the most important things a human can do. When the scribe shows that he understands and accepts what Jesus has said, Jesus responds with “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

In today’s world, the ten commandments are looked upon as a moral standpoint for living. “You shall not kill” and “Honor your mother and father,” while obviously important to follow in life, are pretty much self-explanatory and easy to abide by. However, when Jesus bestows the two most important commandments to the scribe, he is challenging his followers. He is challenging them to not only follow the ten commandments, but to go a step further. To devote one’s life completely to God and put God above everything else is not an easy thing to do, for Jesus’ followers back then and for us today. Loving your neighbor as yourself is also a great challenge, especially for people today. In the modern world, greed and pride have taken over the mindset’s of many people, so the thought of treating someone else as good as treating yourself is sometimes unimaginable. However, the first step towards entering the kingdom of God is merely understanding and accepting what God wants us to do. Just as the scribe accepted what Jesus was saying, people today must first learn to accept the teachings of Jesus. If you can start off doing that, then as Jesus promises, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”