Relating to the disciples
A Reflection for Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Find the Scripture readings here
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mk 28:32-33)
If you are a regular reader of America’s daily Scripture reflections, you may have noticed that I have had some fun over the past few months at the expense of Jesus’ disciples. Their pretty consistent inability to fully grasp what Jesus is telling them, I have to confess, amuses me even as it appears to frequently drive Jesus to a fully human exasperation.
In today’s Scripture, someone listens to Jesus, hears and understands him and in a “yes…and” moment can expand a little on what the Savior is saying. I guess I should not be surprised to learn that this good listener is not found among the disciples. He is a scribe of all things—one of those haughty, spiritual nitpickers who follow Jesus around trying to find anything wrong in what he is doing or saying.
But this time, this particular scribe, perhaps even in a lapse of his customary duties, stops and listens instead of taking a magnifying glass to what Jesus is saying. He has the ears to hear.
I suspect there was some grousing and side-eye among the disciples when this scribe proved to be such an excellent student that he received the coveted “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” award from the master. I suspect further that I more closely resemble the disciples in this story than I do this thoughtful scribe.
Like the disciples, how often am I oblivious to the deeper meaning of Jesus’ parables and pronouncements, quick to intellectual and spiritual envy, more focused on my status in the group and achieving “favorite apostle” standing with Jesus, than I am in truly keeping my ears open ready to hear, waiting not in desire for advancement but in hope for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
His example inspires me to scribble the good scribe’s prayer: Lord, allow me the wisdom to know when to keep my mouth shut and my ears and eyes open; let me always be ready to receive your word and follow your path; let me appreciate the gift of silent reflection; and let me always be attuned to what it means to lead the Christian life, a life notable not for pomposity or display, but for its mercy and compassion, for sacrifice and love, forever and ever. Amen.