Mk 12: 28B-34

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and 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.”

Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Being changed by the truth

The scribe admits to Jesus that love of God and love of neighbor are the most important things. And in doing so the scribe also admits that love of God and love of neighbor are more important than the things by which he makes a living— “whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.” The scribe would have been dependent upon the chief priests, who receive their income from the elaborate sacrifices at the Temple, to be his patrons. By placing love of God and neighbor above his own livelihood the scribe rightly knows that correct order of things. Yet his right knowing does not lead to any further conversion. He does not leave his employment to follow Jesus. The scribe is left wise and yet “not far from the kingdom of God.” He is left unchanged.

Where might I know the truth, even the truth about Jesus, and yet remain unchanged? Surrender that place to Jesus today.

—Fr. Brad Held, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Province and is a campus minister and theology teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI.


Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I do love you, Lord, and so need to give
myself, to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.


—Blessed Charles de Foucauld