Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
A Homily - Cycle B - 2011-2012

by Fr. Luke Dundon

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First Reading - Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
Second Reading - Hebrews 7:23-28
Gospel - Mark 12:38-44

Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.

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 you 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 offering 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 ask him any more questions.

The Lord your God is Lord alone.  You shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength.  OK, we know that - - - so how does that relate to our hurricane clean-up, our election season, our tough season with the Redskins?  How do these words make sense to us, TODAY?

The scribe today certainly knew Jesusí Words, at least in his head!  But . . . THIS time it was different.  THIS time, the scribe was really touched - - - not in the HEAD - - - but in the HEART.  For the first time, the scribe listened correctly - - - he let it touch the CORE of his being!  He let it touch his HEART - - - and THAT was the purpose of those words in the first place . . .

It reminds me again of that adventure I had in swim class in college, when we had to jump off the 10-meter board into the pool.  Thatís at least 30-feet into the air!  So we were lined up along the pool edge, ready to climb up the ladder - - - ďok, midshipmen, listen up!Ē  we were all ears!  We knew that whatever they said would help us survive this fall! ďYouíre going to climb this spiral ladder all the way to the top, then youíre going to start walking to the edge, and keep moving forward, just jump off the ledge!

Donít wait, donít admire the scenery, keep moving!!  Gravity will take care of the rest!Ē  Easy enough, though it was incredibly helpful advice.  I climbed my way up, up, up to the landing, and (gulp) realized how high I was.  So, I followed instructions, I kept walking, and JUMPED . . .  and let gravity do the rest of the work.  Before I knew it I was happily in the water, grateful to survive without any problems!  Only afterwards did I learn, those who *did* hesitate, would only increase their fear every time they tried to jump off the ledge, so it would take repeat sessions trying to muster up the courage to jump off.  All they had to do, was keep moving, jump off, and let gravity do the rest, everything (pun intended) would fall together that way, thatís the natural flow of things!

LOVE GOD with our whole heart, mind, and strength - - - thatís the way itís supposed to be!  If we try to fight against that, if thereís love that we donít want to offer completely to the Lord, then we end up hurting ourselves.  If I try to fight my descent into the water by flailing about, I hurt myself upon impact!  He wants us to give our love to Him in EVERYTHING - - - in storm clean-up, in elections, in sports and in work life and in our families.  So . . . whatís the first step?  We follow the example of the scribe, who didnít DO anything, but rather FIRST allowed the Lord to speak to his HEART.  Every time we come to Mass, the Lord WANTS to speak to our hearts in His Holy Word, we need only LISTEN with our hearts.  Let Him speak to your hearts - - - let Him LOVE you first!  ďTake the plunge for Jesus,Ē and Let Him love you cleaning up after the storm, Let Him love you in the polling booth, Let Him love you in a conversation at work, Let Him love you when youíre having a fantastic visit with a friend or an awful head cold.  Itís in Godís nature to give love, not 50%, but 100%, COMPLETELY, TO EVERY ONE of His children . . . all we need to do is RECEIVE . . . and let love do the rest.  It will be easy to love in return!

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