What Is Our Heart's Desire?

Friday of Week 3 in Lent

Hosea 14:2-10 & Mark 12:28-34

Return to the Lord who will heal people's wounds and recreate them as new beings. This is the plea of Hosea in the first reading. The result of our returning to God will bring about the flowering of new life. “He shall bloom like the lily, and thrust out roots like the poplar.”

Who or what captivates your heart most? For some it could be a person, a young man who is madly in love with a girl. For another it could be a family, like a mother or father who tirelessly work for its happiness and prosperity. For others it could be a material thing, like the accumulation of wealth, measured by riches or a mansion, or simply being better off than the Jones' next door.

As a small boy the two most important people in my life were my Mum and Dad, for the simple reason they did everything for me. All they wanted was to look after me and make me happy and safe in this world. Then the day came when my teacher told me that the most important Person in our lives is Jesus, that He loved us more than anyone else ever could. I was so surprised and asked myself, 'What has Jesus done for me?' Soon after that I remember my father saying, "The day one of my sons becomes a priest will be the happiest day of my life.” It was because I loved my father so much that I made up my mind to become a priest and so make him achieve his ambition. But gradually God helped me to channel my desire to be a priest to please Him first and then my father.

Where is all this leading us? The scribes and Pharisees loved debating the order of the commandments ... which was the first, which the second, the third and so on. In today’s Gospel Jesus has the answer: the first commandment is to love God with our whole being, and the second is to love our neighbour as ourselves. One of the scribes commented on Jesus’ conclusion that this love of God and neighbour was greater than any sacrifice. In other words a sacrifice without love is empty. It is love for God and neighbour that gives all our sacrifices, trials and good works their value. Loving God first with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is the most important thing in life, and then all of the lesser things in life will fall into place.

Jesus congratulated the scribe and told him he was not far from the Kingdom of God. The scribe's knowledge must have been given to him by the Holy Spirit. We have to ask ourselves how far are we from the Kingdom of God? Is drawing closer to the Kingdom of God our first priority? Have we humbly, confidently and fervently asked the Holy Spirit for the grace to help us love our Heavenly Father above all else?

Lord Jesus, help us to keep in mind Your commandments of love and to live them with all our strength, because we do not want our faith to be limited to intellectual knowledge of them. We want to live it with a deep intimate knowledge of the Holy Trinity that bears the fruit of true holiness.