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March 29: Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Reading Hosea 14:2-10
Gospel Mark 12:28-34

And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

When the scribe challenges Jesus to identify the prime commandment of God, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy the prayer known as the Shema. This prayer, which is as important to Jews as the “Our Father” is to Christians, commands you when you pray it to “love the Lord your God with all your heart … soul … mind, and … strength.” Consider this strength that Jesus is directing our attention towards.

Have you ever had the experience of praying to God for the strength—or the wisdom or perseverance—to accomplish some specific goal, only to hear silence from God in response? “Where is God?” we ask. “Why isn’t God here for me?” If you ever feel like God’s not here for you, and that He’s standing remote and silent over there, at a distance, you might reflect on that distance between here and there. Ask yourself, and then ask God, if maybe He’s wanting you to move from here to there. Maybe where you are, isn’t where God wants you to be.

Relating that to the biblical virtue of strength, we have to get it through our heads that God is not going to give us the strength to accomplish a goal that He has no interest in us reaching. It’s not as if we set the goals, and God gives us whatever we need to reach our goals. If our goals are not God’s goals, we shouldn’t be surprised when we call on God, and hear silence on the other end of the line.