“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Continuing Markan readings on Sundays (Mk 12:28b-34), today we find Jesus being approached by a scribe.  The latter asks Jesus what the first commandment is.  Jesus responds with two commandments: first, love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength; second, love your neighbor as yourself.  The scribe concurs, adding that following these commandments is worth more than all sacrifices.  Jesus approves of his understanding, telling him the words above.  No one asks any more questions.  What blessed words these must have been for the scribe to hear.  And don’t we wish to hear the same?  How well do we understand and follow the clear commands of Sacred Scripture?  Do we have the insight that comes through prayer and study to fully comprehend the Good News of Jesus Christ?  Are we able to convey it to other in word?  More powerfully a witness, do we strive to be more fully open to the grace that allows us to do good and exemplify virtue to others?  Of course, at our deaths, we wish to hear Jesus tell us to enter into His joy (cf. Mt 25:21, 23).  But Jesus proclaims that the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mt 4:17).  We want to be close to that kingdom as co-workers with Christ in the vineyard of the world (cf. Rom 16:3-16), toiling daily to be better subjects and to be the means the Lord uses to bring others into His reign as He desires no man to die (cf. Ez 18:23).

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