3rd Week of Lent,Friday

Today’s readings remind us that it is hard to love into a vacuum. Hosea in today’s First Reading encourages Israel to turn back to the Father who has loved them so much and still does. All they have to do is say those simple words that heal so many wounded relationships: “forgive me.” We suffer because of our sins, and we blame God’s punishment for the suffering, but we have to realize that the suffering is self-inflicted. It is no coincidence that the Sacred Heart is depicted as a wounded heart; he wounded at seeing us wound ourselves and each other.

It is achieving a deeper understanding of the love God has for us that enables us to love him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and to truly love our neighbor. Loving is the greatest appreciation we can show to God for his love for us. The scribe in today’s Gospel rightly sees the superiority of love over many other religious practices. In fact, religious practices become exactly that due to the love behind them. When Our Lord encourages the scribe by saying he is not far from the Kingdom of God he is also encouraging us to remember that if we achieve love, often an arduous conquest, we’re one step away from every good thing Our Lord wishes for us and for the world.

Let’s live these last few weeks of Lent with an ardent desire to take up again the arduous conquest of love. God will never disappoint us.

Readings: Hosea 14:2–10; Psalm 81:6c–11b, 14, 17; Mark 12:28–34. See also 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday and 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.