THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
29th October, 2023.
Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40.
Today Jesus defined the principle of religion. It is love of God and love of neighbour. Jesus said, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love of God finds expression in the love of the neighbour. This is the character of a true Christian. Jesus expressed his love for us at the crucifixion. The binding nature of religion is based on this principle. This is the true test of faith.
The challenge before us today is the inability to overcome self-indulgence. A lot of people struggle to lift the gaze of love beyond the self. What makes loving God difficult is our inability to love those around us. One cannot claim to love God when one is unable to love others. The first reading mentioned the negligence of the unfortunate members of the society- the widow, the orphan and the stranger- as a sign of lack of true religion. Punishment or crisis will befall any society that is lacking in love.
Jesus is not demanding the impossible from us. What he wants us to share with others is the human tendency to love oneself. Our society will be peaceful if we are able to love others as much as we love ourselves. The antidote to interpersonal crisis is the transmission of self-love. St. Paul reminded the Thessalonians in the second reading that the transmission of self-love, the gospel, speaks for itself among the people. Love of God finds expression in our love for others.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.