Saturday, November 04, 2006
31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
NOVEMBER 5, 2006
31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
so that you, your children and their children after them may fear
the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and
commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear,
O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and
that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey,
just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O
Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon
Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from
remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a
priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to
save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to
make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such
a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to
offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for
those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered
himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high
priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating.
Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of
all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most
important one," answered Jesus, "is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
strength.' The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher,"
the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there
is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your
understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor
as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and
sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to
him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no
one dared ask him any more questions.
During the time of Jesus, there were two currents among the rabbinic
schools. One current was to multiply and expand the laws into
limitless regulations so as to cover all possible situations in
The other current was to gather and sum up all the laws and
regulations into one sentence, one general statement, which would
contain the whole message. The rabbi Hillel was once asked by a
proselyte to instruct him in the whole law while he stood on one
leg. Hillel's answer was "What thou hatest for thyself, do not to
thy neighbor. This is the whole law. The rest is commentary. Go
and learn." It is probably with this kind of spirit that one of
the scribes came to Jesus with the question: "Which is the first of
all the commandments?"
Jesus replied: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."
However, Jesus connects a little known ethical injunction to this
great commandment: "You shall love your neighbor [fellow
Israelites] as yourself." (Lev. 19:18). Jesus puts the two
commandments together and made them one. Religion to him was loving
God and loving neighbor. It is as if he were saying that the only
way in which a person can love God is to love his neighbors.
And Jesus reminds the Jews that "neighbor" is not just fellow
Jews. "Neighbor is not defined by race or religion as commonly
practiced by the Jews in the time of Jesus. The Book of Leviticus
(19:23) states "When an alien resides with you in your land, do not
molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no
differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for
him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of
Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God."
The problem is, how can you realistically give your whole heart and
soul and mind and strength to a God you've never seen? For your
consolation, countless people have done it, millions of mortals all
over the world; most of them did not have a college education, who
knew less about God than you do.
Precisely here is the heart of the matter: You can know about God
without knowing God. Many a philosopher and theologian know about
God God exists, God is good, God is infinite, God rewards good and
punishes evil. But that does not guarantee that you will love God.
How then do you ever get to know God? One sure way is to experience
God, not necessarily, or usually in visions or voices. A living,
loving God can make his presence felt, can speak to you in the
silence of your soul, can warm and thrill you till you no longer
doubt that he is near, that he is here. Such experience you cannot
force from God; he gives freely.
If you want to love God, love God's image; love the men and women
whom you meet every day: those who have just lost a loved one, those
in the waiting line at the charity clinic, those wounded soldiers at
the Veterans' Hospital who either have no relatives or whose
relatives are too far away to come and visit, those in the home of
the aged, the prisoners, the poor families that can no longer
afford "galungong" once the poor man's fish. Now the whole family
share one or two packs of instant noodles, the increasing number of
unemployed the list can go on and on. They are the people in
need not just for material and financial help, but love and caring
and faith. You will meet them every day. Will your love reach out
Let's end with a song by Carey Landry, which says:
"I sought my soul,
But my soul I could not see,
I sought my God,
But my God eluded me.
I sought my brother,
And I found all three."
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the early recovery of Joaquin.
- for the speedy recovery of Adeliada G. Imperial.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Benito S. Cua (Nov. 5, 1935 - Mar. 2, 2002)
- Birthday: Ely Sim
- In Memoriam (+): Gregoria Garsuta
- In Memoriam (+): Co King Ting Chua
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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