THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
25th October 2020
Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40
The gospel of this Sunday emphasises the fact that love for God finds its expression in our love for our neighbour. Jesus Christ summarised the entire law into two: love for God and love for one’s neighbour. According to Jesus, the second resembles the first i.e. the love for our neighbour resembles our love for God. This means that God whom we cannot see on earth, can be loved in our neighbour. The love for the neighbour is designed in a unique way: love your neighbour as yourself. Self-love is not difficult. The challenge is the ability to extend this type of love beyond the self. Our digital world brought us closer than we can ever imagine. But it has not enabled us to show genuine love. Pope Francis warns us in the second chapter of his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti, that digital connectivity is not enough to build bridges. It is not capable of uniting us. Real love cannot be shown on social media!
To make this easy for us, the first reading brings to our notice a window of opportunity in the kind of people that the God protects as his own; the orphan, the stranger and the widow. According to the reading, if one is harsh with the widow, the stranger and the orphan, they will surely cry out to God and be sure he shall hear their cry. God protects them as his own! This is a unique opportunity to love God. Charity to the less privileged and challenged members of the society is loving God. We deceive ourselves when we claim to love God while those around us suffer. Our joy is incomplete when someone around us is sad. We cannot be healthy when everyone around us is sick.
The uncertainty around us as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have seen many people in and out of jobs. A good number in the country have lost their jobs. There is no hope in the immediate future for hiring as some big companies are still downsizing their workers. Economic experts tell us that financial recovery of the nation will take some time. Have you looked around your neighbourhood for the families passing through hardship due to loss of jobs? Do you even care that there may be parishioners who are in need of food? It is our duty to discover them. A friend in Sheffield told me that the food banks and soup kitchens have been prioritised due to the teaming number of homeless persons and hungry families. Our love for God is questionable if we do not join in alleviating the plight of the hungry among us. Drive to any food bank or soup kitchen and make your contribution personally. Let’s make our love for God real by reaching out to those in any kind of need.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.