Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 3rd Week of Lent – Friday – Matt 12:28-34
In stark contrast to the previous malformed and ill-willed Jewish leaders who attack and attempt to demean Christ and His authority, the scribe approaches Christ with respect and an earnest desire to learn. Christ, able to read men’s hearts with perfection, responds to the scribe’s questions with graciousness.
The scribe, whose vocation was to study scripture, had been pondering the great complexity and practical challenge of keeping the Old Testament’s 613 commandments and seeks Christ’s help in prioritizing the commandments. Christ immediately responds with a perfect synthesis of massive complexity of the Old Covenant into the Two Great Commandments. The first, from the great Jewish Shema (Deut 6:4-5), refers to man’s relationship with God and the second, from Leviticus 19:18, refers to man’s relationship with other men. Christ’s teaching is also a synthesis of the 10 Commandments: “to love God” summarizes Commandments 1-3 and “to love neighbor” summarizes Commandments 4-10.
The scribe, recognizing Christ’s remarkable answer, now calls Him “teacher” and praises Christ’s wisdom. Christ responds with a powerful authority that assesses the scribe’s future eternal state and pronounces the scribe’s closeness to the Kingdom of Heaven; the crowd is stunned into silence.
1) Marvel at how Christ, the Son of God, has wisdom beyond the comprehension of men but is still able to teach even the simplest of men about Him.
2) Consider Christ’s great expectation: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” During Lent, review the Catechism’s reflections on the Creed section I believe in God (CCC 199-231) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to grow in an “all-in” love for Him.
3) To keep Christ’s commandment “to love your neighbor as yourself” is only possible with the indwelling and constant help of Christ. Renew your understanding of God’s Grace (CCC 1996-2005) and during Lent, pray for Christ to give you the Grace to “love your neighbor as yourself.”