October 31, 2021 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I love you, Lord, my strength.”
Hebrews 7: 23-28
Mark 12: 28b-34
by Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB
What does it take to flourish and thrive? The clue can be found in today’s first reading, the great “Shema” of Judaism which means “Listen.” Do we listen and then respond in an active way? Israel responds, returning love for Love: “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Loving God with all our hearts is difficult in today’s world because many things catch our attention first, such as riches, notoriety and possessions. Returning God’s steadfast love often takes second place in our lives. We want tangible rewards because God seems so distant to us at times. However, besides loving God with all our hearts, we are also to love our neighbor as ourselves because we find God’s image and beauty in them, too. I know myself to be flawed and I also find imperfection in others, too. Yet, God loves both of us without limits. Only the Holy Spirit living in us can help us love unconditionally. Loving our neighbor is difficult especially if we find their presence lessens our peace and comfort. How then do we respond in love? Seeing God’s loving presence in them and praying for them can eventually bring us peace.
The Letter to the Hebrews is comforting, for it reminds us that Jesus lives forever to pray for us. Can you remember a time when you were overcome with your burdens and worries and also those of others who are dear to you? The Letter to the Hebrews comforts us when we hear that God lives forever to make intercession for us. So, take comfort!
Jesus admonishes us to love people who are different from us. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Today there are so many immigrants who are looking for a new life, one free from terror, a better life for their children. Let us pray that our government and other countries will open their doors to immigrants. We thank God that we have the resources to give them a home; may our hearts be open to receive them with love and care.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“No one is to pursue what he/she judges better for him/herself, but instead what he/she judges better for someone else.” Chapter 72 on Good Zeal, verse 7
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him." John 14:23