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March 13 – Friday of the 3rd Week in Lent

Hosea 14:2-10 ●  Mark 12:28-34

Love your God and others

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second:
‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!”
When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, “You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.”

Mark 12:28-34

REFLECTION


In Jewish tradition, there is great respect for the give-and-take of religious debate. It was not offensive to question the rabbis or challenge their authority, and Jesus and this scholar appreciated each other’s repartee. But lest the mutual admiration for each other obscure the point of the passage, let’s not forget Jesus’ three-part answer: we must love God, ourselves, and others.

ACTION


Which of these commandments are you weakest at practicing? Can you express your love for God more? Or is there a way to love your neighbor better? Or might this passage be inviting you to love yourself as much as you love God and others?

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 11 – Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Lent

Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9 ●  Matthew 5:17-19

Don't let your heart wander off

Pay attention: I’m teaching you the rules and regulations that GOD commanded me, so that you may live by them in the land you are entering to take up ownership. Keep them.
Practice them. You’ll become wise and understanding. When people hear and see what’s going on, they’ll say, “What a great nation! So wise, so understanding! We’ve never seen anything like it.”
Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live.

Deuteronomy 4:5-6,9ab

REFLECTION


Moses had been teaching the Israelites the ten commandments, along with many others that were given as regulations to guide the community to live with justice and wisdom. He reminds them that now that they know them, they have to be faithful to them, practice them diligently, and pass them onto the next generations. There’s no reason they will need to re-invent the wheel from generation to generation, because the teachings are there for them. It will save the people a lot of grief if they’ll simply practice them and teach others to practice them.

ACTION


Is there a commandment, rule, or regulation that is life-giving for you but from which we’ve been slacking in adherence?
Prayerfully re-commit yourself to it now. Tell a friend or loved one of your resolve as a way to ask for accountability.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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