Daily Reflection – Nov 4, 2018
Sunday 4 November 2018
First Reading: DT 6:2-6
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
Second Reading: HEB 7:23-28
Gospel Reading: MK 12:28B-34
Today’s Note: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
Fear the Lord, your God. (Deuteronomy 6:2)
What does it mean to fear the Lord? Should we really be afraid of him? Well, we should never minimize these words since they appear more than three hundred times in Scripture. But fearing God is not the same as living in terror of him. It’s more about having a proper reverence for him.
As with so many other truths in the Bible, fearing the Lord is a different thing than the earthly kind of fear we are all familiar with. It is a positive disposition, not a negative one. It’s a way of building our faith and deepening our relationship with God, not keeping us distant from him.
At its heart, fear of God helps us to say no to our sinful desires. It functions more as a way of protection than as a means of oppression. It’s fear of God that moves us to say, “I don’t want to say or do anything that will cause me to be separated from my heavenly Father.”
Parents instill a similar “loving fear” in their children. They teach their children to stay within certain boundaries of speech and behavior so that they can grow up to be responsible, respectful adults. For their part, children know that consequences will follow if they cross these boundary lines. And so a certain “loving fear” lays the foundation for wisdom in the children. It’s in a similar way that Scripture tells us that “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
Fear of the Lord is a tool that keeps us safe as we grow and mature. And like all learning tools, it is helpful for only a time. Eventually, this godly fear should give way to love, because “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). This is a lifelong process, of course, but it’s encouraging to know that even godly fear can dissipate as love grows.
So let’s all take to heart God’s greatest commands: “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).
“Jesus, help me live the most perfect way of love.”