5 November 2012
Extracted from the book of Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Moses said to the people:
‘If you fear the Lord your God all the days of your life and if you keep all his laws and commandments which I lay on you, you will have a long life, you and your son and your grandson.
Listen then, Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase, as the Lord the God of your fathers has promised you, giving you a land where milk and honey flow.
‘Listen, Israel: the Lord our God is the one Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.
Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart.’
Extracted from the sermon- the Hebrews 7:23-28
There used to be a great number of priests under the former covenant, because death put an end to each one of them; but this one, because Jesus Christ remains for ever, can never lose his priesthood.
It follows, then, that his power to save is utterly certain, since he is living for ever to intercede for all who come to God through him.
To suit us, the ideal high priest would have to be holy, innocent and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens; one who would not need to offer sacrifices every day, as the other high priests do for their own sins and then for those of the people, because he has done this once and for all by offering himself.
The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son (referred to “Jesus Christ”) who is made perfect for ever.
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’
Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must 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 must love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.’
The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other.
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’
Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’
And after that no one dared to question him anymore.
Readings for Holy Mass on 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, 4 November 2012:
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 6:2-6 (see above)
Responsorial: Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51 (see Encouragements-24)
2nd Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28 (see above)
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:28-34 (see above)
We have extracted the Homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II given on 5 November 2012 based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you:
JUBILEE OF GOVERNMENT LEADERS,
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Sunday 5 November 2000
1. "Hear, O Israel!" (Deuteronomy 6:3,4)
The word of God, in a solemn yet loving way, has just invited us to "hear". To hear "today", "now", and to do so not as individuals or in private but together: "Hear, O Israel!".
This summons is directed this morning in a particular way to you, the Government Leaders, Members of Parliament, Politicians and Public Administrators who have come to Rome to celebrate your Jubilee. I greet all of you cordially, with a special thought for the Heads of State present among us.
In the celebration of the Liturgy, the event of our Covenant with God becomes present, here and now. What response does God expect from us? The command which we have just received in the proclamation of the Biblical text is peremptory: we need first and foremost to listen. Not a passive and uninvolved listening. The Israelites understood very well that God expected from them an active and responsible answer. That is why they promised Moses: "Speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it" (Deuteronomy 5:27).
In taking on this responsibility, they knew they were dealing with a God whom they could trust. God loved his people and he desired their happiness. In exchange, he asked for love. In the "Shema Israel", which we heard in the First Reading, together with the demand for faith in the one God, there is expressed the fundamental commandment of love for him: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5).
2. Man’s relationship with God is not one of fear, of slavery or oppression; rather, it is a relationship of serene trust born of a free choice motivated by love. The love which God expects from his people is their response to that faithful and solicitous love which he first made known in all the various stages of salvation history.
For this very reason the Commandments, before being a legal code and a set of juridical regulations, were understood by the Chosen People as an event of grace, as a sign of their being privileged to belong to the Lord. It is significant that Israel never speaks of the Law as a burden, but rather as a gift and a grace: "Happy are we, O Israel", exclaims the Prophet, "for we know what is pleasing to God" (Baruch 4:4).
The people knew that the Decalogue involves a binding commitment, but they also knew that it is the condition for life: Behold, says the Lord, I am setting before you life and death, good and evil; and I command you to observe my commands, that you may have life (cf. Deuteronomy 30:15). By his Law God does not intend to coerce man’s will, but rather to set it free it from everything that could compromise its authentic dignity and its full realization.
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Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
5 November 2012