Sunday, October 23, 2011
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "`You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: "What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, `The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet"'? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?" No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:34-46
I am one of those people that does not like taking test and might even have a bit of test anxiety. When I was in school as a child, my mind would go blank and I would find myself sweating and getting a little nauseous. E never felt prepared. Even auditions were tough for me. Years ago, as a young woman, I sang with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and we had to audition to get in. After a few years, they decided that we had to audition every year. My audition was awful and our conductor told me to go sit with my section and we would discuss things later. I was in a deep abyss of anxiety and failure. As we were practicing a fairly tough piece, I felt a slap on the back of my head. "You know this music!" the conductor loudly whispered in my ear. And from then on, I was a member of the chorus.
Jesus was done with testing from one group of clergy when another group decided to test him. They wanted to know the first commandment and he answered them - love God and love your neighbor likewise. And then he turned the tables on them and tested them. In their inability to answer they were driven to leave him alone. They were more focused on the testing than faith, on being right rather than being compassionate and loving. Jesus invites us today to live through our testing, but not to make it about winning, but about love. Are our lives about loving and compassion? Then we know our music and God is with us.
Today I ask God to give me patience with testing of all kinds and to know that the answers to all of life's questions are simpler than we think. Help us know that love is always the right answer, and that God's love is abundant and sure for the end of time.
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.