October 26, 2014
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ex 22: 20-26 / Ps 18: 2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 (2) / 1 Thes 1: 5c-10 / Mt 22: 34-40
First Reading: Ex 22: 20-26
You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not harm the widow or the orphan. If you do harm them and they cry out to me, I will hear them and my anger will blaze and I will kill you with the sword, and your own wives will be widows and your own children orphans. If you lend money to any of my people who are poor, do not act like a moneylender and do not charge him interest. If ever you take a person's cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him by sunset, for it is all the covering he has for his body. In what else will he sleep? And when he cries to me I will hear him, for I am full of pity.
Second Reading: 1 Thes 1: 5c-10
You also know how we dealt with you for your sake. In return, you became followers of us and of the Lord when, on receiving the word, you experienced the joy of the Holy Spirit in the midst of great opposition. And you became a model for the faithful of Macedonia and Achaia, since from you the word of the Lord spread to Macedonia and Achaia, and still farther. The faith you have in God has become news in so many places that we need say no more about it. Others tell of how you welcome us and turned from idols to the Lord. For you serve the living and true God, and you wait for his Son from heaven whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who frees.
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. One of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to test him with this question, "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law?" Jesus answered, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. But after this there is another one very similar to it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments."
Jesus puts down God's commandments for us in a nut-shell: Love God and love people. If we get these right, most things will fall into place. But if we get these wrong, most other things will go wrong as well. He loves us but we never love Him back the way He deserves to be loved. Our Father deserves far more than we give Him? He deserves more love than we show Him.
Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind." It means putting our all into our worship, surrender, and service. We are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, anywhere, any time, in church, at home, while driving, while working, while playing, etc. If we love our heavenly Father, we must show at all times and in all ways how much we love Him. Our love for God must overflow into love for people. We must love both God and people. We will never properly love people until we learn to love God. People do love other people, but not as much as when they first love God. Why? Because God is the author of true love. We have to be in touch with God to be in touch with people.
Love is humble toward others. Love is patient toward others. Love is not self-centered. Love does not seek to control others or police others. Love does not require perfection in others. Sometimes loving those closest to us is the hardest thing to do. We can give money to feed starving people on the other side of the world, but to deal kindly with someone at work or our next door neighbor may be a different matter entirely, and yet, more often than not, we meet God in such an encounter. To profess that we love God while remaining indifferent to the plight of others is a contradiction. God has always involved Himself in the affairs of people because God loves His creation and He loves people most of all. And we, too, are to love people most of all. We can never love God and people too much. And the more we love Him, the more we will love people. The two go hand-in-hand. Life is not just about us. It is not just about what we do in life or what we accomplish in life. Life is about ministering to others. When we really love, when we open our hearts and lives to others, we are drawn to them. Real love cannot sit back and observe. It calls for action.
If we don't demonstrate and help others in our world find real love, if we don't help them develop hearts that are open to God's grace and God's peace and God's voice, then the cycles of despair and violence and hate and empty living we see around us will never end. There will be no end to the greed and hate that leads to violence and war, except in the love of Jesus. There will be no end to the irresponsibility and immorality that leads to shattered lives, except in the love of Jesus. There will be no end to the selfishness and self-indulgence that leads to crime, except in the love of Jesus. Real love--Christ's love--is the answer.
To love people as God has commanded, we need to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as we want to be treated. We need also to follow the Jesus Rule: treat everyone as if they are Jesus, because they are Jesus. Living this way is not easy, but with God's help we can do it we can do it because God wants us to do it. This Gospel passage is not an ideal to be admired but a way of life to be lived if we are to walk humbly with our God. There is an old saying that the night is over and the day has begun when we recognize other people as our brothers and sisters.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for wisdom, perseverance and clarity of mind for those who prepare and take their exams:
* Karen Tuala and Lisette Mandocdoc who will take the bar exams on the four (4) consecutive weekends of October
* Elmer and Liza who will take their exams on October 25, 26, 28
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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