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Christ the King

Get your priorities straight

This past week, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, and the Commemoration of the faithful departed, known commonly as All Souls. The month of November is traditionally dedicated by the Church to rememberance of those who have preceded us on our journey to heaven. Some of you may remember the time when we referred to such things as the Church triumphant as upposed to the Church militant, referring to those of us who are still on this earth and awaiting our final reward.

Our emphasis on the faithful departed during the month of November reminds us that this life is only temporary. In fact the more experienced we get in the game of life, the more we realize that our span of years on this earth is fleeting.

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Upon a first reading, we might be tempted to ask, 'What exactly is Jesus trying to tell the scribe in today's gospel?' What is the lesson that the evangelist Mark thought we needed to learn? In short, I think that Jesus was saying to the scribe, and to us, 'Get your priorities straight'.

Jesus was a good Jew. He had studied the texts of the Torah, which by the way, we also have in our bible. The Torah is made up of the first five books of the bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers. There are many laws contained in the Torah but from among the hundreds of directives, Jesus chooses two which he believe to be the most important - 'Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength' ( Deut 6:4-5) and 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'.

Like many other situations in life, we have to have our priorities straight when it comes to faith as well. Love the Lord your God above all things. Then the other preocupations in life seem to find their own place in the order of importance. But we can't separate this love for God from love of others, and ourselves. It's as if Jesus is saying to us that we cannot love God and not show this love in the way we love one another. Otherwise our love for God is just a pretense.

Faced with the sobering reality that our lives here on earth are only a passing reality which will be over before we know it, ought we not pay more attention to our relationship with God, the importance we place on cultivating this divine relationship, and the ways in which it is reflected in the relationships we have with others? Perhaps it's time to get our priorities straight ... before it's too late.

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