today's second reading from Treasury in our morning prayers, it occurred to me that maybe I've misunderstood it. The scribe drawn to Jesus by the controversy over the resurrection with the Sadducees asks Him about the Great Commandment. Jesus answers with the twin commandments. And the scribe approves: "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said HE is one, there is no other besides HIM. And to love HIM with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as one's self is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Jesus responds to this with: "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
The distance, though, is in the pronoun. For the kingdom of God was closer than the scribe imagined. It was there in the flesh standing before him. Oh, if only the scribe had had the eyes to see. NOT "HE is one" but YOU are one. Not "there is no other besides Him" but "there is no other besides YOU." Not "to love HIM with all the understanding..." but "to love YOU with all the understanding!"
And to drive to this point, Jesus asks the next question: the Christ, whose Son is he? David calls Him 'Lord' so how is He his son?
When we come to Jesus, we stand before the God who became our neighbor, who came into the flesh because we COULD not love Him with all our heart, mind, and strength. Nor our neighbor as ourself. He came into our flesh to accomplish this. God becomes man in order that there might be a perfect and complete human righteousness - which is just the exact same thing as saying a human life in which there was nothing but love. And the gift of that love to us to be our very own, that gift IS the gift of the kingdom.
Yes, the kingdom of God was nearer to the fellow than he expected. For the King of the kingdom was standing right before Him, and would soon take up His throne upon a cross.