Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 25
May God’s Love Flood Our Hearts and Increase Our Faith and Hope in His Promises, Enabling Us to Be Opened to the Gift of Ourselves in Generous Service to Others, As Jesus Has Most Generously Given of Himself to Each of Us.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – words in today’s Gospel, words with which we are very familiar and which are meant to guide us in being truly Christian, a truly Christ-like people.
I would imagine that out of all that that we read from Sacred Scripture, this one Commandment for many people is probably the hardest concept to embrace. And Jesus tells us in another place that our neighbor is each and every one of our brothers and sisters, for we are all children of God.
I oftentimes ask myself the question, especially after seeing the evening news or reading the newspaper or the news on the internet, especially after seeing in current times the many riots taking place in cities throughout the world, “Why is it so difficult for people to love their neighbor? Why is it so difficult for some to find peace in their hearts and to share the joy of that peace?”
The answer is oftentimes very obvious, “They do not know God” or “They do not accept His ways.”
To be truly alive in our faith is to love – to love openly and to love freely without reservation, just as God loves both you and me! God does not say, “I will love you, if you do this or that.” God does not say, “I will love you, if you love me too.”
God loves us unconditionally, about which Saint Paul tells us in his Second Letter to Timothy, speaking of God’s Love for His children, “If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
When we look deep within ourselves, when someone has hurt us deeply, can we say that we also remain faithful to those who have hurt us? Sometimes loving unconditionally is very difficult. And yet, our Lord tells us today, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This concept was even pressed upon the hearts of God’s chosen people after the Exodus event, which we find in today’s First Reading. In God’s covenantal relationship with His children, there were behavioral codes which everyone was expected to observe – all for the well-being of one’s neighbor. And Moses would preach:
“You shall not molest or oppress an alien…You shall not wrong any widow or orphan…If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner to him…If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset.”
And these were only a few of the numerous prescripts or laws which were designed to guide God’s children into a proper and harmonious relationship with one another.
If we are to respond to Jesus’ first Commandment, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, and if we truly call ourselves Christian, then how can we not respond to the other, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”?
For then we become Christ-like in the way we live our lives with all those whom our lives touch – whether they be family or friends, or the stranger on the street – for then we begin to truly embrace that which God is asking from each one of us.
When we truly care about the needs of our neighbor, when we truly become the extension of Christ to one another in the midst of a climate of self-centeredness where one chooses self rather than other – which we unfortunately find prevalent in today’s culture – then the words of Saint Paul in our Second Reading truly strike home.
When we place the will of Christ first in our lives rather than self-will, then we, too, have become “imitators…of the Lord”. We, too, become a “model” for all who look upon us and witness the faith which we actively live in our daily lives – for we become a sign of God’s effective Love in all that we do, in all that we are.
For we have turned from the secular idols of our day and age – material riches, fame, fashion, sexual immorality, disproportionate power – in order to embrace the richness of our faith and all that our faith teaches us, so that we may “serve the living and true God” in the life to which our Lord calls us to live.
Let us pray that God’s Love may flood our hearts and increase our faith and hope in His promises. And recognizing each other as our neighbor, may we always be opened to the gift of ourselves in generous service to others, especially to those who are in most need, as Jesus has most generously given of Himself to each of us!
No matter what difficulties or hardships we may face in life, the virtue of selfless love speaks more eloquently than any form or thought of self-interest.
It is when we truly place the will of God first in the life of faith we live, then the words of today’s psalmist truly become our own, “I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.”
For it is in Jesus and in His Most Sacred and Merciful Heart where we truly place all our trust!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “[Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.’” (Matthew 22:37-38)
- “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:39-40)
- “‘…who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead…a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.’” (Luke 10:29b-30, 33-34)
- “‘Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?’ [A scholar of the law] answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37)
- “For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” (Hosea 6:6)
- “If we are unfaithful [God] remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
- “You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien…You shall not wrong any widow or orphan…If you lend money to my people, the poor among you, you must not be like a money lender…If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset.” (Exodus 22:20a, 21, 24a, 25)
- “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers…” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7a)
- “…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9b)
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
- “Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
- “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
- “I love you, LORD, my strength, LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.” (Psalm 18:2-3a)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of Your Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,Anonymous
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”