Are we going where the Lord wants us to go? Are we doing what he desires of us? How can we know? This is a very common question, and one that a man in our upcoming Sunday Gospel seems to also wonder. The Inner Life®, hosted by Chuck Neff, discusses the Sunday Gospel each Friday, and this week was joined by Fr. Tom Wilson, a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
“This is a great interaction between Jesus and one of the scribes … so the scribe is asking a question that he essentially knows the answer and I expect that most faithful Jewish people in the first century would have understood the answer. When he asks, “Which is the first of all the Commandments,” he knows exactly what the answer is going to be: to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then follow that up with loving God in our neighbor, and Jesus is quoting directly from the Book of Deuteronomy and so the scribes certainly wouldn’t know the answer and Jesus gave the absolute correct answer. And so that’s really the heart of the conversation.
But it’s also leading us into what else is going on here. Because unlike some of the conversations that Jesus has in the Gospels, which at times can appear hostile, this one doesn’t give the appearance of being hostile. And Jesus even says, “You’re not far.” And so, I think the question the Gospel really brings to us is, if you know the answer of the commands that God is asking us to live by, how far are we from the Kingdom in our own hearts and our own actions?” asked Fr. Wilson.
Chuck Neff wondered if the scribe was, like many of us Christians do, just trying to get some affirmation that he was on the right track. “I think that’s a distinct possibility, Chuck. It happens a lot and I think we can all look to places in our own faith journey where we want to do a little bit of a self check-up. And to be honest, as a priest, I get that question a lot in private settings from people. And people really want to know, am I on the right path? Am I doing the thing that God wants me to do? Am I in the right direction? It doesn’t happen too often that people come in and are self-justifying things, but people really want to know that they are on the right path and in the good graces of God and doing what the Lord really does want them to do,” shared Fr. Wilson.
If we, like the scribe, are looking for ways to grow closer to God and ensure we are on the right path, there are many ways we can do so. “The Church is full of possibilities of devotional opportunities to get nearer to the Lord. And I also think that if we are continuing to walk with the Lord and respond to the nudges that he gives to us in our souls, he’s inviting us into that deeper relationship with him, but he’s also inviting us to take that deep relationship with him and apply it to all aspects of our life and every relationship that we have.” Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and experiencing our Lord at daily Mass and just two ways we can really enter into a closer friendship with him.
Listen to the full podcast here: