Tovább a tartalomra

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time B year (2018)

2018/11/02

The examination

“Which is the first of all the commandments?”

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. Mk 12,28b.34

Applause

“Which is the first of all the commandments?” – Isn’t it strange to solemnly ask an expert something that everybody including children would have been able to correctly answer? What hidden twist should we suppose listening to such a tricky question? We should just remember the context in which such an examination has taken place. First some Pharisees and some of the Herodians tried to lure Jesus into making a statement whether or not it is wrong to pay  taxes to the Romans. Jesus successfully ridiculed them. The political man-trap did not work. Next the Sadducees exposed themselves with their story of the widow who had successively been married to seven brothers. Their attempt proved to be fruitless   as they were unable to demonstrate the rightfulness of their anti-resurrection standpoint. Their misfortune pleased all the more the scribe who rivaled both parties and disdained them. Thus his own inquiry seemed to be riskless: there has been general agreement in Israel concerning the issue of the highest of all commandments. No risk seemed to be involved, neither for Christ nor for the examiner. His expectation hasn’t been disappointed so far and therefore he praises Jesus: “Well said, teacher”. To some extent he rings his own bell because Jesus said exactly what he would have answered himself. An easy victory at least at first glance. Jesus however did not let himself be exploited in a political debate between the contemporary Jewish sects and parties. Especially as the scribe quoted him incorrectly by adding a backhand stroke on the priests by devaluating the temple’s sacrifices. Jesus has been aware of this outcome and corrected him just by lauding him: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” This means however he lacks something. He lacks humility.

 04.11. 2018. 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

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