Friday of the Third Week of Lent




Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 241

1st Reading – HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”–
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 AND 17

R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
“I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel – MK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
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 said to him, “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.

Catholic Daily Reflections

Don’t Wait to Accomplish the Greatest Act!

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: 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.” Mark 12:28-30

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the greatest act you can do in life is to love God with your whole being. That is, to love Him with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Loving God above all things, with all the power of your human abilities, is the constant goal you must strive for in life. But what does that exactly mean?

First, this commandment of love identifies various aspects of who we are so as to emphasize that each aspect of our being must be given over to a total love of God. Philosophically speaking, we can identify these various aspects of our whole being as follows: intellect, will, passions, feelings, emotions and desires. How do we love God with all of these?

We start with our minds. The first step in loving God is coming to know Him. This means we must seek to understand, comprehend and believe in God and all that has been revealed to us about Him. It means we have sought to penetrate the very mystery of God’s life, especially through Scripture and through the countless revelations given through the history of the Church.

Second, when we come to a deeper understanding of God and all that He has revealed, we make a free choice to believe in Him and follow His ways. This free choice must follow our knowledge of Him and becomes an act of faith in Him.

Third, when we have begun to penetrate the mystery of the life of God and chosen to believe in Him and all that He has revealed, we will see our lives change. One specific aspect of our lives that will change is that we will desire God and His will in our lives, we will want to seek Him more, we will find joy in following Him and we will discover that all the powers of our human soul will slowly become consumed with a love of Him and His ways.

Reflect, today, especially upon the first aspect of loving God. Reflect upon how diligently you seek to know and understand Him and all that He has revealed. This knowledge must become the foundation for your love with your whole being. Start with that and allow all else to follow. One way to do this is to begin a study of our entire Catholic faith.

Lord, I realize that in order to love You above all else I must come to know You. Help me to be diligent in my commitment to know You and to seek to discover all the glorious truths of Your life. I thank You for all that You have revealed to me and I dedicate myself, this day, to a more thorough discovery of Your life and revelation. Jesus, I trust in You.

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