Daily Reflection
June 6th, 2002
Bob Hart, S.J.
Jesuit Community
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Mark 12:28-34

There is no chaining the word of God, though Paul finds himself in chains.  “If we die with Jesus, we shall live with him, but if we deny him, he will deny us.   (Yet) if we are unfaithful he will remain faithful, for he cannot deny himself.   Keep reminding people of these things.”  2 Timothy 2

Show us your ways , O Lord, teach us your  paths…. 
You guide the humble to justice,
You teach the humble your ways, 
for your ways, O Lord, are kindness and constancy. 
Your friendship, O Lord, is with those who fear you.  Psalm 25

Which is the greatest,  the first of all the commandments?  Mark 12

There is no chaining the word of God.  This is reminiscent of  Isaiah 55/10-11: God’s Word always accomplishes something positive. “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

And the same can be said of Jesus, the word of God par excellence.  I no longer see the prologue of John’s Gospel as teaching some esoteric doctrine of a pre-existent Jesus coming down from heaven to be with us in human form. The prologue simply says that Jesus is that human being who speaks God best, better than any individual thing that God made, each one of which also speaks God.

In their much beloved Scriptural tradition, the Hebrew people loved their Law the most. The "just" man meditated upon it "night and day."  They pondered their law day and night so that they might find their God in the text itself. 

Of their 6l3 laws, the ten words or laws that were especially important were the DECALOGUE, the ten (deka) commands or words (logoi).  They spoke God  better than the less important laws.  Why?  Because in our living the decalogue, in our day-to-day lives, over time we might just become more and more like God.  In our day-in and day-out living of God’s demands we might just find ourselves becoming a bit more just, a bit more forgiving, a bit more tolerant, maybe even more broadminded, compassionate, and merciful.

Jesus speaks and reflects God even better than all the steady keepers of the ten commands or their equivalents in every major religious tradition of our world.  Jesus embodied these yet more fully.  In letting himself be fully taken over by his Father’s love for him, he poured Himself and his Spirit out upon us, his followers.

Let us conclude with some excerpts from a poem Jessica Powers wrote when, at the age of 36, she entered the Carmelite Convent in Milwaukee.  It shows, I believe, the importance of the first commandment, the ‘love of God’ commandment, for the rest of our lives.  In a word, I believe this first and greatest of Jesus’ commands  animates and sustains his entire life and teaching, as well as the lives of the great mystics of all times.

There is nothing in the valley, or home, or street            
Worth turning back for –
" Nothing!" you write. O bitter words and true ...

The mystery of God lies before and beyond us  
So bright the sight is dark, and if we halt
To look back once upon the burning city, 
We shall be paralyzed by rage or pity,
Either of which can turn the blood to salt….

Here we walk the fire-strafed road and thirst
for the great face of love,
The blinding vision,
Our wills grow steadfast in heart’s decision
To keep the first commandment always first …

With but the bare necessities of soul –
No cloak or purse or script – let us go forth
And up the rocky passes of the earth
Crying “Lord, Lord”
And certain presently …
To hear and answer that becomes a call.

Love, the divine love,
The antiphonal, speaks only to love,
For only love can learn that liturgy,
Since only love is erudite to master
The molten language of eternity.

Our beloved Fr. Hart has been re-assigned to our St. Camillus health care Community in Milwaukee.
Let us keep him in our grateful prayer.

He can be reached at his new e-mail address:

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