2008-10-20 04:05:23 UTC
Most of us are ready to accept that there is one commandment that we should observe, namely that we should love God. However, our understanding of loving God keeps varying from person to person. Some believe that they are loving God if they go to Sunday mass, others, -if they do not break his commandments, still others, -if they do not do anything bad. We are reminded today that there is only one commandment: show your love of God, by loving your fellow human beings.? We cannot say we love God if we do not love our brothers and sisters with whom we live! Have an enjoyable weekend with our loving God, so that we might be more loving towards others! Fr. Jude?
Sunday Reflections: 30th Sunday of the Year ?Only one commandment ?Live in Love!? 26-Oct-2008
Readings: Exodus 22: 20-26;??1Thessalonians 1: 5-10;??Matthew 22: 34 -40;
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In today?s first reading we hear of how the people of Israel were expected to treat the stranger: ?You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.? The Israelites had themselves been poor and strangers, and just as God had taken pity on them, so they were to take pity on outsiders. Loving the stranger was something that had to be done because of their own experience and what God had done to them. Traditionally, the stranger was the outsider, different from them, someone to be feared and kept at a distance. They are now asked to treat the stranger with special care. When accepted the stranger was sacred and given the full protection of the host. The Israelites had experienced this and now they were asked to do likewise. Perhaps the guest was God coming into their homes!
A man attending a crowded church service refused to take his hat off when asked to do so by the ushers. Others also asked him to remove his hat but he remained obstinate. The preacher was perturbed too, and waited for the man after the service. He told the man that the church was quite happy to have him as guest, and invited him to join the church, but he explained the traditional decorum regarding men?s hats and said, ?I hope you will confirm to that practice in the future.? ?Thank you,? said the man. ?And thank you for taking time to talk to me. It was good of you to ask me to join the congregation. In fact, I joined it three years ago and have been coming regularly ever since, but today is the first day anyone ever paid attention to me. After being an unknown for three years, today, by simply keeping on my hat, I had the pleasure of talking to the ushers. And now I have a conversation with you, who have always appeared too busy to talk to
me before!? ?What do we do to make strangers welcome? Are we too busy?
Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians offers prayers and thanksgiving for the way they have responded to the call to conversion. He reminds the Thessalonians of the essence of their conversion which has become a model for other followers. Previously they were idol worshippers but now they have turned away from idols to serve the one living and true God. Conversion implies a visible change in their behaviour, which is noticed by others. Paul?s life style was a model for them to follow. In following Paul?s example they in turn have become a model for others like the Macedonians to come to Christ. Our lives and actions should speak of our faith.
In Community is Strength
A pastor in a country parish heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing that he would no longer attend church services. His rebellious parishioner was advancing the familiar argument that he could communicate just as easily with God out in the fields with the natural setting as his place of worship. One winter evening the priest called on this reluctant member of his flock for a friendly visit. The two men sat before the fire place making small talk, but studiously avoiding the issue of church attendance. After some time the pastor took the tongs from the rack near the fire place and pulled a single coal from the fire. He placed the glowing ember on the hearth. The two men watched as the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray, while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly. The pastor remained silent. ?I?ll be at the services next Sunday,? said the parishioner.
Brian Cavanaugh in ?The Sower?s Seeds!
In today?s gospel we see that the Pharisees persist in their confrontation of Jesus, they wanted to trap him and so to disconcert Jesus they ask him, ?Which is the greatest commandment?? The Pharisees claimed they had 613 precepts: 356 prohibitions, corresponding to the days of the year; and 248 laws of direction, one for every bone of the body! Was there one which was key to all the others? Jesus was asked to name the greatest commandment, and responded by naming two, both found in the Old Testament. Jesus brought the two together and made them of equal importance. Hence we must not separate them, though in practice we often do. Jesus said, ?You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.? Jesus showed us how to live the total gospel, that is, how to love God and love our neighbour as
well. He didn?t say they were the same thing, but we can?t have one without the other. Jesus also said ?You must love your neighbour as yourself.? Only when we accept ourselves as fundamentally good, and begin to love ourselves, will we be able to start loving other people as the Lord commanded. Those who are filled with self-loathing and self-hatred cannot love others. They will project these feelings on to others. They will blame and castigate others for what they do not like in themselves. We know that it is easy to love some people because they are loveable. But not so easy to love those who are flawed. This is the real test of love. We are challenged to follow the example of Christ. Where there is no love, sow love, and you will reap love. Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.
Keeping the One Commandment
In the time of the desert monks there lived an abbot by the name of Moses, who had a great reputation for holiness. Easter was approaching and so the monks met to see what they could do to prepare for it. They decided to fast the entire length of Holy Week. Having come to the decision, each monk went to his cell, there to fast and pray. However, about the middle of the week, two wandering monks came to the cell of Abbot Moses. Seeing that they were starving, he cooked a little vegetable stew for them. To make them feel at ease he took a little of it himself. Meanwhile the other monks had seen the smoke rising from their abbot?s cell. It could only mean one thing ?he had lit a fire to cook some food. In other words he had broken the solemn fast. They were shocked, and in the eyes of many of them, he fell from his pinnacle of sanctity. In a body they went over to confront him. Seeing judgement in their eyes, he asked, ?What crime have I committed
that makes you look at me like this?? ?You have broken the solemn fast? they answered. ?So I have?, he replied. ?I have broken the commandment of men, but in sharing my food with these brothers of ours, I have kept the commandment of God that we should love one another.? On hearing this, the monks grew silent, and went away humbled but wiser.
Flor McCarthy in ?New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies?
? ?Master which is the greatest commandment of the law?? Jesus? reply to the cunning trap laid out for him is admirably simple. He links us all scripture, as a moral value and guide to life, with the meeting place between the love of God and the love of one?s neighbor. In saying that the second is like the first he is implying that charity to one?s neighbor is as important as love of God. Herein lies the difference between his religion and that of the scribes and Pharisees. And what are we to say about our religion? Bound up with our limited notions of God, our manner of living the faith displays a stunting of much of our religious behavior. It may border on caricature, but it can be said that for certain Christians, only the first commandment exists: worship the Father, the vertical dimension of belief, and at the socio-cultural level, respect for order and authority. ?All we want to hear about? they say, ?is God, heaven and grace and
the sacraments! The rest is unimportant!? For others only the second commandment counts: cult of one?s brother, the horizontal dimension of belief, the development of mankind and political involvement. Unfortunately, either vision results in a one-sided individual who no longer perceives the full perspective of their human relationships ?to God above, to those around, to their inner self. It is by loving one?s neighbor as oneself that love for God is manifested and one?s filial relationship in the Spirit is truly lived. And that is the whole law and the prophets.? -Glenstal Bible Missal
Love Changes Us
Years ago there was a movie called Little Lord Fauntleroy. It was about a seven-year-old boy who went to live with his grandfather, who was a wealthy man and had many people working for him. The old man was basically selfish and mean. But the little boy idolized him so much that he couldn?t see this. He thought his grandfather was generous and kind. Over and over he would say to him, ?Grandfather! How people must love you! I?ll bet they love you as much as I do!? To make the long story short, the little boy?s love gradually softens the old man?s heart, and he becomes the kind of person his grandson thinks him to be. The story is like a parable of Jesus. It shows how his love for us can change us and give us the power to become the kind of loving people he sees us to be.
Mark Link in ?Sunday Homilies?
Are You Related to Him?
Just before Christmas, there was a boy wandering through a shopping complex. He was admiring the colourful display of Christmas gifts. A lady closely watched him moving from one shop to another. Realizing the poverty of the boy, she took him inside the shop and showed him the Christmas tree and explained to him the meaning of Christmas. ?God loves us? she said, and so to save us from our sins, he was born in a manger as a little babe.? Then she bought him a pair of new clothes and shoes, along with some Christmas gifts and a candy and some refreshments. The little boy was thrilled. As she led him out of the shop, he looked at her and asked, ?Are you God?? ?No? she replied, ?I am only one of his children.? ?Ah!? said the boy, ?I knew that you were somehow related to him.?
John Rose in ?John?s Sunday Homilies?
May our love for our neighbour show our relationship to God!
Fr. Jude Botelho
director at niscort.com
PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in these reflections. These reflections are also available on my web site www.netforlife.net?Thank you.
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