40th Anniversary: Remembering, Transforming and Recommitting
From Sunday’s Gospel MK 12:28B-34
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.
The scribe knew the answers! He understood what Jesus was saying about the greatest commandment: love of God and neighbor. So, why was he “not far from the kingdom of God” and not all the way in it?
One could say the scribe was standing right in front of the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus. Then he literally was “not far from the kingdom of God.” That would admittedly be a good hint or at least a clever quip from Jesus to the scribe.
Another possibility is that the scribe recognized Jesus as “teacher” but nothing more. The question and answer was just an intellectual exercise, not an act of faith. Crossing the threshold to the kingdom of God involves a leap of faith in the person of Christ. It involves actually loving God and neighbor, and not just knowing the commandment to do so.
REFLECTION: Where is my faith: only in tenets or ideas or in the person of Jesus Christ? Am I “not far from the kingdom of God” or already in it? If Jesus saw how I acted toward my neighbor, would he welcome me into the kingdom, or say I was not there yet?