Far from the Kingdom
Today’s Gospel Text: And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question. Mark 12:28-34
Reflection: We do not know the motive of this particular scribe concerning the above question; for scripture does not reveal it to us.
Could it be that the scribe was serious in knowing the answer and therefore asked the question or could it be that he too wanted to test Jesus?
The initial interaction seems to suggest that the scribe knew the answer to the question?
Or could it be that he knew the answer to the question and yet he asked Jesus and as Jesus answered him correctly he was much pleased as he was a man who knew how to rejoice in the truth, even if it meant that his enemy was delivering the truth.
The third possibility could be that the scribe was really serious in knowing the answer and that as he was listening to Jesus he could see the truth because his spirit was open to the Lord.
But it can never be a possible fourth situation in which he did not know the answer nor was he open to the truth of God’s action.
If given a choice to guess, I think that the scribe was an earnest seeker, who on seeing the ability of Jesus to answer well approaches Jesus for an answer.
What is more Jesus sees in the scribe a sense of openness to the word and those qualities that are required for one to receive the kingdom.
Though the scribe had the required qualities, sound theological knowledge, yet it was not enough for him to be in the kingdom.
Therefore Jesus says of him: “”You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
We too may have all knowledge and may feel confident about life but it is not enough, no way does it mean that we are close to the kingdom and this is what we need to seriously reflect about as we read this gospel today.
Prayer: Lord, help us not to go by our own confidence but your approval of us.