30th Sunday In Ordinary Time
Cycle A | 29 October 2017
Exod. 22: 20-26
I Thes. 1: 5-10
Mt. 22: 34-40
INTRODUCTION: Trying to trap Jesus again, as we have seen these past several weeks, the Pharsees this time ask Jesus which of the commandments of the Law is the greatest. What was Jesus’ answer?
(1) Let me begin with an anecdote about two people in love I have known as JP and Lady. JP is a young, handsome, very available single man who has a two-year-old special child with autistic tendencies from his former girlfriend and loves to live in a ranch-house with a rustic ambiance in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, for the sake of his autistic child, Peanut. Beautiful city-girl Lady came from a failed Church marriage with her first husband. What is special about these two people in love? JP loved Lady so much that he waited for her to get her civil and Church annulments before he married her in Church which took several years after he decided her to be the woman of his love. The city girl Lady lived with JP in his ranch in Palawan and lovingly took care of his autistic child Peanut. JP loves Lady and Lady loves what JP loves!
(2) Jesus’ clear and simple answer is “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (vv. 37-40) Today’s Gospel sets the tone for your entire life! The first part of the quote is not too controversial: direct all of your love towards the highest good, GOD, the Creator of all things. The whole of our life should be directed to God. Discerning to follow God’s will is the center and the priority in your life, not wealth, not pleasure, not power, not honor, not knowledge , not country, not political party, not family: all of which are good in themselves but God must be the center of your life and all those will find their rightful place. As Card. Suhard of Paris said: “Live your life in such a way that it would make no sense unless God exists.”
(3) Why did Jesus immediately add the second commandment? The Pharisees were only asking for one — the greatest! Because God loves everyone and everything he has created or otherwise they would not exist unless he loves them. Therefore, if we love him with all that we got, we should also love what he loves. JP loves Lady and Lady loves what JP loves because she loves him. Think of someone who is repulsive to you! Remember that he has been loved into existence by God. What matters most is not what that person’s worth to you but his worth to God. That is why in the first reading God asks from the Israelites to love the poor and the marginalized: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. . . If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors, you shall not act like an extortion era toward him by demanding interest from him.” (Exod 22: 20 and ff) God appears to love with a special love those who are in most need of love. So should we! That is why the Church over the last 50 years or more has been repeatedly teaching about the preferential Love for the poor.
CONCLUSION: Who right now in your life is in most need of your love? There is the whole of Christian Life!
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches