My wife and I attended Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel today for the baptism of our grandniece, Angelina. The readings couldn’t have been more appropriate. They are the instructions to lead a blessed life. The first reading from Deuteronomy couldn’t put it any simpler:

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let the words I enjoin on you today stay in your heart.”

Such simplicity is the heart of wisdom. And in today’s gospel, Jesus imparts it to yet another follower who wanted to test Jesus to see if he really knew his stuff. What are the greatest commandments? Jesus echoes Deuteronomy: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. But he adds an important amendment: You must love your neighbor as yourself.

This scribe liked what Jesus said so much that he added a little wisdom of his own: “this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”  

I suppose the spirit in which this guy responded to Jesus’ answer must have touched the Lord. For once this wasn’t some wise-guy Pharisee trying to trap Jesus, but a sincere soul, seeking salvation. And indeed, he found it.

“You are not far from thekingdomofGod,” Jesus told him.

I’m confident our little grandniece will be raised by that simple two-commandment-plus-eight instruction manual that came with her soul today and that she will radiate love while on her lifelong journey to God’s kingdom.