Ordinary Time


Lift every voice and sing,
till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty;
let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

James Weldon Johnson in “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (1921)


One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31


Jesus is being tested in a public debate with religious leaders who are trying to discredit him and stop the people’s movement that is growing under his leadership. The expert is expecting one answer to his question, but Jesus gives him two. In doing so he makes it clear that there is no separating our relationship with God from our relationships with other people. It is the combination of our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationship with other humans that makes us fully alive, fully free. This silences his critics for a time and turns a test into a teachable moment.

Spiritual formation is challenging lifelong work, but it can make us new creatures by deepening our relationship with God and widening our circle of kinship beyond those we already know. This truth speaks powerfully into our time when so many people are being encouraged to separate themselves and believe that those who are different don’t belong.

Kamal Hassan


Gathering God of sacred relationships, let me not be so focused on my relationship with you that I forget to love and care for the other people you have made and sent me to live with. Let my circle of care and concern grow ever wider and wider as I live. Amen.


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

John Lennon/Paul McCartney in “Blackbird” (1968)