October 31: One God, a Sunday Scriptures blog

When I lived in Israel for three months, I came to appreciate the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. I lived in Bethany, up the hill from the Mount of Olives, and Bethany is a Palestinian village where there are many mosques that broadcast the chanted Arabic call to prayer five times daily. The first two and last two phrases of the Adhan translate as God is Great! God is Great! There is no god except the One God. Jewish believers begin and end their day praying the Shema: Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad, or “Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One.” That first word “hear” (Sh’ma) is important, carrying the connotations of listening, heeding, hearing, doing. The Sh’ma phrase comes from Deuteronomy 6:4, which introduces what we call the great commandment, love the Lord … with all you heart and … soul and … strength. We will hear these words twice this Sunday, in our Hebrew Scripture and then in the Gospel. A scribe was listening carefully, “Sh’ma,” as Jesus was preaching, and he asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. We share with our brothers and sisters of Islam and Judaism a faith appreciation of the oneness and grandeur of God. Many of our liturgical prayers end with “one God, forever and ever” and our Creed begins with “I believe in One God… .” Perhaps we might keep this Sunday holy by reciting words of faith in the One Great God throughout our day.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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