Hymns for Mass – Press Here

FIRST READING (Hear, O Israel! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.)

A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (6:2-6)

Moses spoke to the people, saying: “Fear the Lord, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life. Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them, that you may grow and prosper the more, in keeping with the promise of the Lord, the God of your fathers, to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all yourheart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.” — The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51)

R. I love you, Lord, my strength. (Ps 18:2)

I love you, O Lord, my strength; O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. (R)

My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies. (R)

The Lord lives! And blessed be my rock! Extolled be God my savior. You who gave great victories to your king andshowed kindness to your anointed. (R)

SECOND READING (Because he remains forever, he has a priesthood that does not pass away.)

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (7:23–28)

Brothers and sisters: The levitical priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; Jesus did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever. —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him. (R)

GOSPEL (Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor.)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (12:28b-34)

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, withall your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Jesus, “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 yourstrength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that the scribe answered with understanding, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions. —The Gospel of the Lord.

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


“Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today!”

Our first reading and the Gospel are very familiar to most of us. The reading from Deuteronomy is the famous Shema’a Israel – the profession of faith that is recited every day by orthodox Jews. The Gospel retells the story of Jesus’ teaching on this profession of faith by telling us how all the laws and commandments of the Old Testament can be condensed into two. We could say that his teaching can be seen as two legs that we need for our journey in following Christ. We can attempt to walk without one, but we really need both!

People often wonder, “What does it take to be a good Catholic?” This week we will celebrate two feast days that can help us in coming to an answer. Tomorrow,  we began the month of November with the Solemnity of ALL SAINTS, where we revere the memory of men and women over the ages who learned to LIVE THE BEATITUDES in their daily life. They are our saints. Then on Tuesday we commemorate the memory of all those who have died and who shared our faith, and who even now need and deserve our prayers, especially in this month dedicated to the POOR SOULS.

How do we measure being a good Catholic? We know what the Church teaches: attend Mass on Sundays; obey the teachings of the Church; be concerned about the poor and about injustice in the world; experience and use the gifts of God’s Spirit. But in this modern age ruled by so much media and especially social media, blogs and hyper-communication, we are besieged by a torrent of catechisms, creeds, papal documents, letters from our local bishops, pronouncements from the Vatican, along with often confusing interpretations of all of the above in a increasingly secularized and agnostic media that reviles faith and belief in God.

In a similar way, in today’s Gospel Jesus himself confronts such a problem where a scribe, a specialist in the Law, asks Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Four of the five books of the Pentateuch, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are a combination of prose as well as long sections on “The Law” with some 613 precepts.  But what is important is to remember that God’s love for the people of Israel was revealed in the Sinai COVENANT and in observing “all his statutes and ordinances” as we just read. God’s COVENANT, or the Ten Commandments, is followed by lists of reciprocal responsibilities of the two parties in the Covenant (God and us). It’s as if God is saying to us, “If you want to be in a covenant with me, this is the way you should live.” Israel’s LAW fits into this kind of a covenantal relationship with God. Some of the laws describe the way people should relate to God, but they also have a social dimension showing our responsibilities towards others.

The Shema’a Israel, “Hear, O’ Israel” is both a profession of faith and a summons to obedience. “Hear, and be careful to observe…” It is then followed by the well-known directive: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” While the Hebrew word LOVE does include some degree of emotional attachment, its primary focus is fidelity to commitment – to be FAITHFUL. In this context it means that the partner in the covenant must be committed to GOD completely.

Simple conformity to the Law or to a set of rules is not enough. All of our interior faculties are to be involved in this commitment:  the heart considered the seat of the mind and will; the soul, which was thought to be the source of vitality; and all of one’s strength. And this passage ends with the injunction or command: “Take to heart these words that I enjoin on you today,” In other words, commit your entire self to God and take this commitment seriously. LOVE OF GOD and LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR are the two legs we walk on as we journey as disciples of Christ.

The Scribe who approaches Jesus in the Gospel knows the 613 precepts, and he is aware that some were considered more weighty, while others less weighty. He is not trying to trick Jesus but he seeks clarity. Jesus links two of the commandments together – ones not really identical – to show that they are inter-related: LOVE OF GOD and LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR. The expression used here by Jesus in this passage was taken directly from Deuteronomy. It crystallizes into two injunctions all of the law found in the tradition. Jesus might well have ended his answer with a quote from the great Jewish scholar Hillel: “ALL THE REST IS COMMENTARY!

The scholar asked for one commandment and Jesus gave him two. The first commandment develops from the COVENANT itself – our relationship with God and a commitment to that that should be internalized and be part of our very being. The second part develops from the notion of the Body of Christ and how we are each members of this body, using our talents, characteristics and resources for the good of others. Two commandments; two legs to walk on in our journey. As members of the community of the Church, we are joined to one another through faith (the vertical dimension) and through our love and care for each other (the horizontal dimension). As Jesus states in the Gospel of Matthew, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me!”

When we love another completely, unreservedly and selflessly we also love those who are loved by that person. So it is with the love of God. When we love God completely, unreservedly and selflessly, we also love all those whom God loves. And in loving others, we are doing what God wants, and we are journeying with him on two legs!


CelebrantLet our prayers today show that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, mind and strength. Let our prayers show that we love also our neighbors as we respect and reverence ourselves.

READER: That the Holy Church may grow in charity and unity, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: That obedience to God’s law may guide those who govern us, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: That people who seek goodness and decency may find Jesus Christ, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

READER: That we may know our neighbors and show them Christian love, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: For all the sick in our parish, and especially those who have asked for our prayers and who are remembered in our parish prayer group, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD


READER: For the prayers we carry in our hearts today, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD


CELEBRANT: Lord God, you reveal your will to us; you teach us your commandments. As we bring these petitions before you, we intercede in union with our eternal priest, your beloved Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever, (all) AMEN.

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