Aug 21 2020 Reflection
Friday 21 August 2020
First Reading: EZ 37:1-14
Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
PS 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel Reading: MT 22:34-40
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He 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.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:40)
The religious authorities had been trying to trap Jesus. They were asking trick questions and looking for something in his answers to use against him. In today’s Gospel, some Pharisees do this by asking Jesus which is the most important commandment. Would Jesus agree with their own assessment?
Of course, Jesus saw through to their hearts. He knew that rivalry and suspicion had led them to pose this question to him. And so he told them that the Law and the prophets “depend on”—or “hang on”—love (Matthew 22:40). Love of God and love of neighbor was the test they should use to measure how well they were following the Lord. It was also the test they should use in evaluating the way they were following the Law of Moses. Without love, their adherence to that law could not bring them life.
Jesus tells us the same thing because he knows that there can be a little bit of the Pharisees’ attitude in all of us. Love is the ultimate “test” for us as well. It’s the framework on which God asks us to build our lives. It’s the path he wants us to take whenever we face important decisions. He wants us to base our priorities less on whether we are fulfilling a rule and more on whether we are growing in our love of God and neighbor. Rules are not enough. Love is what’s necessary.
So start each day by remembering that God has loved you first. That’s the wellspring that feeds your ability to love. Be sure to set aside time to spend with him alone. No matter what keeps your hands and mind busy, recommit yourself to doing everything for love of him. Remember also how much God loves your neighbors—enough to die for them! So always ask him how you can help make his love more real in their lives.
And the next time you face a decision about how to use your time, what to tackle next, or how to adjust to an unexpected disruption in your plans, revisit this central question: “How can I love God or my neighbor better right now?”
“Lord, I want to love you with all my heart, my soul, and my mind. I want to love my neighbor as much as you love me!”