Friday of the Third Week of Lent
(Click here for readings)
The scribe said to Jesus, “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.
No one asked any more questions. Are you kidding me? How could anyone leave it at that! This is not right. It’s not fair! What did Jesus mean when He said, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” What’s missing??? I can’t believe no one asked any more questions. This is awful. I wouldn’t be satisfied with someone saying to me, “You’re 70% right.” Oh, great. Thanks a lot! So what’s missing? What did I forget?
Which is the first of all the commandments? The Lord answered the scribe’s question by saying: “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 basically nodded his head and said in reply, “Ditto.” But apparently this was not enough for Jesus or to enter the Kingdom of God. Something was still missing.
Well then, what would be enough for God? Christ made it abundantly clear that knowing the commandments was good, but not enough. And obeying them was very good, but not enough. I think He would say we were close but still not there, like 50% not there.
What’s missing? The other commandments? No. Not the other commandments, but the most important aspect in all the commandments: the heart. Commandments, like rules, need a heart. And guess what? Ours is it. Is yours still missing?
It’s not enough just to know the commandments and to live them. We need our heart to ignite them. We must fall in love with God’s Will.
Let’s be honest. We’re all good at faking. We’re all good at pretending we like what we’re doing, even when we don’t. We’re also very good at letting people know when we don’t like what we’re doing, even though it is something good and noble.
Jesus, our Savior, is insisting we put our heart into what we are doing, especially when we are doing His Will in our lives.
Commandments need a heart, just like music needs emotions.
It’s not enough just to be able to read music. It’s not enough just to be able to play music, even a robot can do that! What we need to do is put some emotion into our music. This is what drives fans insane.
When I was a kid I went wild listening to The Who. I went wilder when I saw one of them smash their guitar on stage. That’s emotion! Our grandmas went wild when they heard Elvis Presley sing. They went even wilder when he threw one of his filthy sweaty towels at them. Yuck!
Christ is inviting us to put some heart – some passion – into His music.
There is nothing wrong with the Lord’s commandments. They don’t need to be erased, added or modified or updated. They simply need a heart like His to operate them.
And even though Christ lived over two thousand years ago, His words and actions are as challenging today as they were back then (They are also as inspiring and thrilling today as they were back then.).
So maybe what is missing from our lives is not so much His Will as it is His passion. And we know He gave it His all to us. (0)
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