Jesus was a master teacher. In this passage, he uses the classic teaching device of answering a question with another question. This incident occurs when a lawyer wants to test Jesus.
The lawyer asks how to receive eternal life. Jesus refers him back to the Hebrew scriptures, and the lawyer quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus affirms the answers. Eternal life is rooted in love for God and love for neighbor.
The lawyer expands the ways of loving God in his quotation. Deuteronomy 6:5 commands that we love God with our heart, soul, and strength. The lawyer adds “and with all your mind.” These four sources or expressions of love have helped me pray about my own life. Sometimes I focus my prayers on those four areas of life and commit those parts of me to God. Some days, I might need to confess my shortcomings to God in one or more of those areas. Sometimes I ask for God’s help to be more fruitful in each of those parts of myself.
Our entire being belongs to God. We are called to use our whole self to love God and our neighbors. At times God gives us power like the disciples received, but all power must be used in love.
God of my heart, soul, strength, and mind, help me love and serve you with my whole being. Help me to bear the fruit of love for my neighbor. Amen.
Amos is a farmer called by God to deliver a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel (the northern kingdom in the divided monarchy). Because the king has not listened to the warnings from God, judgment will come. The psalmist also warns of judgment, in this case for those who oppress the weak and needy and fail to protect them from the wicked. Such heartless people will surely be brought low by God. The opening to the letter to the Colossians is a prayer of thanksgiving for their faith in Christ and the spiritual fruit they are producing in the world. The parable in the Gospel reading challenges our human tendency to ignore need. Jesus teaches that mercy should overcome any reason we might find to harden our hearts.
Read Amos 7:7-17. Look for God’s plumb line in the world. In what ways is the ground you stand on askew?
Read Psalm 82. If you sit on the council of the Most High, how does this change your perspective on the world?
Read Colossians 1:1-14. Prayers of mere words are just the beginning of prayer. To what prayerful actions do your prayerful words call you?
Read Luke 10:25-37. The author writes, “Even those trying to be faithful walk askew.” Consider how you live out Jesus’ call to love your neighbor.
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This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.