Oct 25 2020 Reflection
Sunday 25 October 2020
First Reading: EX 22:20-26
I love you, Lord, my strength.
PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
Second Reading: 1 THES 1:5C-10
Gospel Reading: MT 22:34-40
Today’s Note: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
Love the Lord. . . . Love your neighbor. (Matthew 22:37, 39)
What a rough day! From the start, Jesus had to contend with groups of religious leaders trying to trip him up. First came the chief priests and scribes, then some Pharisees, followed by some Sadducees, followed by even more Pharisees. And all the while, Jesus was trying to preach to the people—including “the blind and the lame”—who had gathered around him (Matthew 21:14).
How ironic! Jesus faced a parade of dignitaries trying to trap him instead of asking how they could better care for the people surrounding him. Their very actions showed how blind they were to what it really meant to love God (Jesus) or their neighbor (the people). Of course, we shouldn’t single them out as especially evil or misguided. We can all point to times when we have overlooked opportunities to love, even when they are staring us in the face.
Why would that be? Part of the reason is that we may have a narrow definition of Jesus’ command to love. We might tend to reduce loving God to attending Mass or getting our prayer times in—walled-off situations that are limited in time and not very demanding. As for loving our neighbor, we can fall into the trap of deciding for ourselves who our “neighbor” is. Maybe he’s our husband but not the coworker who rubs us the wrong way. Maybe she’s our sister but not the in-law who is always offering her advice, whether we want it or not.
Jesus came to expose the indifference that lies at the heart of our failures to love. But he didn’t stop there. He also overcame it as only he could: by pouring himself out in love for us. May we take up his example and pour ourselves out as well.
“Jesus, teach me to love all my neighbors.”