October 26, 2008
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 22: 34-40
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. and a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. I love you, but let my love grow today, so that I might love you and those around me with a love similar to the love you have shown to me.
Petition: Lord, may my love for others be a true reflection of my love for you.
1. Passing the Test with Flying Colors
After Jesus had silenced the Sadducees by answering all of their questions, this Pharisee comes to Christ with his question: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” You have to admire the supreme patience of Christ who, knowing they were trying to trip him up, still takes the time to answer. By answering the question, Christ is practicing exactly what he preaches: He is loving those around him by practicing patience with them, and he is loving his Father by hoping that someone in the crowd will take his words to heart and live them.
2. Love Is Greater Than Fear
Christ responds to the question by saying, “You shall love the Lord your God”, not, “You shall fear the Lord your God.” To fear is the character of slaves; to love, that of children. To love God with all your heart means your love must be total and complete. Any other love in your heart must exist only through this all-consuming love for God. We must be ready to lay down our whole heart, soul, and mind in the service of God.
3. They Will Know You Are Christians by Your Love
Jesus Christ wants love for one another to be the distinctive sign of all those who follow in his footsteps. This love is the sign, pledge, and proof that we are true Christians and not frauds or impostors. Christ is the first to show us how deep and pure this love is to be. This love must stem from our desire to bring all those we meet closer to heaven and, therefore, closer to true happiness. This love must stem from our love for God. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (cf. John 15:13).
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to love you more. Despite the pull that I feel to be selfish and to think of my own needs before those of the Church and others around me, I want to focus on what really counts. I know that any love outside of you is shallow, so please fill my heart with your love that I may give it to others in turn.
Resolution: Today I will purify my love by finding two extra ways to show this love for others without seeking something in return.
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