Questions in the gospels are important and in the readings of the last two Sundays, we have heard Jesus asking a question… the same wonderful question! Firstly, to James and John, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Their request could not be met as their desire for positions of privilege didn’t accord with the values of Jesus. The next time Jesus asked his question was to the blind Bartimaeus who replied, ‘Lord that I may see.’ Seeing the faith of Bartimaeus, Jesus’ healing response meant conversion ‘he followed him along the road.’
In this Sunday’s gospel it is Jesus who is being asked a question by one of the scribes who seems to engage genuinely with him. ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ And Jesus’ answer? The Shema, the answer of any good Jew, the declaration of faith in the One God which we hear from the book of Deuteronomy in the first reading this Sunday and which is recited by faithful Jews morning and evening, even today.
The scribe seems elated at Jesus’ answer and expounds on it, adding the importance of love of neighbour. No wonder Jesus declares he is ‘not far from the kingdom of God’ as he has outlined the correct stance of the human person before God and others.
In his little book, Let Us Dream, Pope Francis states it again for us in compelling terms.
‘We are born beloved creatures of our Creator, God of love, into a world that has lived long before us. We belong to God and to one another, and are part of creation. And from this understanding, grasped by the heart, must flow our love for each other, a love not earned or bought because all we are and have is unearned gift.’
Knowing that God is longing to gift us, let us ask for our needs and the needs of the world. And conscious of being so loved, let us share what we are receiving within our families and work places.