30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40), Jesus quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5); ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might’. Next He quotes from the Book of Leviticus (19:18); ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Unlike any other who has gone before Him, Jesus places the twofold commandment side by side, and insists that true love of God must be enfleshed in the love of our neighbour. He went on to say that all the Scriptures ‘hang on’ these two commandments.
The two Commandments are so important together. We see in the world what happens when one is practiced to the extreme without the other. When there is no love of neighbour, people end up using violence in the name of God. When there is no love of God, eventually love is confined only to those we like or ‘our own’, and others are dispensable, or are turned to mere objects. Only in Christianity are these two spelt out strongly: after all, God who came to us, came to us as a neighbour and a brother.
A couple of chapters later (Chapter 25), Jesus gives us a practical application of these two commandments – that we should even see God in our neighbour:
“…in as much as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to Me”.
God bless Fr Michael