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Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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Lectionary: 152
Read: Mark 12:28-34

Gospel Summary
Mark relates the story of the scribe who asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment. This was a fairly serious question since there were some 613 commandments in the Jewish Torah. In a conversation between student and teacher, Jesus answered the scribe claiming that the greatest commandment incorporated two of the commandments known to the Jewish people. The question couldn’t be answered with just one command. Jesus said that people first were to love God with their whole being. The second part of the answer understood that most people love themselves enough to take care of themselves and their affairs. Jesus said that we were to love our neighbor in the same way as we love ourselves. The scribe then repeated what he understood Jesus to say and Jesus told the man that he had a good understanding. If the scribe lived in the way that Jesus said, the scribe would certainly live in the Kingdom of God.

Reflection for Families
Jesus asks us to do something hard in this command. When we think about putting God first, that doesn’t seem too difficult. We know we love God, so hard can this be? But do we find excuses not to worship God at mass? Or do we sometimes forget to talk to God in prayer? What about the time we were impatient with one of God’s children because he didn’t drive fast enough, or she didn’t share her possession with us? Loving God with our whole self and thinking as much of other people as we do ourselves, is a tall order. Most of us put our own wants and needs first, even before God.

Bringing the Gospel Into Your Family
Set two bowls or containers on the table one evening after dinner this week. Go around the table and ask each person to name their favorite activity. Use one bowl for things that do not serve God or other people and use the second bowl to represents things we do that do serve God. Put a penny in the appropriate bowl as activities are mentioned. Continue going around and depositing coins for other activities described. At the conclusion, compare the number of coins in each bowl. What did you learn about your family? Do you need to make any adjustments? If you feel pretty good about how your family shows love for God and others, what will you do to continue that?

Discussion Starters

  1. One of the hardest rules for me to follow is . . .
  2. One thing I really like about myself that I often see in others is . . .
  3. One thing I’m going to change about myself so that I can better show love to others is . . .


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