Have you ever attended mass on Sunday and had a profoundly moving experience of faith; a time when everything seemed to just fall into place – prayers, readings, preaching, music – in such a way that you truly felt God’s presence and you knew the meaning of community?
And then, went out into the parking lot and had your blood pressure rise because “no one knows how to drive”? You’re frustrated and angry, maybe even spewing words that are far from the poetry-infused lyrics that passed your lips only a few shorts minutes earlier. I guess we’ve all been there at one time or another.
Well, that is what Mark is talking about in today’s Gospel. When the scribe says, “You are right in saying… ‘to love him with all your heart… and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices’,” he is reminding us that the prescriptions of the law are far less important than the relationships of the heart.
You went to Mass and fulfilled the weekly obligation; you offered the prescribed sacrifice, but it did not move your heart. The purpose of sacrifice and prayer is to change the one who prays. God does not need our sacrifice or praise; it is for us that we do it. It is so that our hearts might break open and be ready to receive the grace that God offers to us and that we might more readily invite others into our hearts to share in the presence of God.
Sr. Danielle Jacob