for Sunday, October 26, 2014
The great commandment! Love of God and love of neighbor. Everything
depends on love. All we have to do is hear these words of our Lord to
realize that love is at the basis of all of our life - if we want to follow
We humans always find reasons and pretexts not to love one another. That
seems to be part of our being. We don't look for sin but we often avoid
the good that we could do. This commandment of love is found also in the
Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures. Jesus makes it clearer to us.
In the Book of Exodus today, we hear some of the early formulations of how
to love others and a practical description of the people who should
beloved. Widows, orphans and poor people demand particular attention in
terms of love. Today we would focus on those who are the outcasts of
society: the abusers, the ugly people, those who have personality
disorders, etc. Every age has people that it marginalizes.
The Gospel of Matthew today once again generalizes: love God and love your
neighbor. We can recall the story of the Good Samaritan to remind us that
our neighbor is everyone who is in need in any way. This is a call to
universal love. It is not an invitation to try to figure out those whom we
don't have to love. Our Church is still struggling with how to love those
who don't follow the rules, how to love those who do not conform, how to
love those who reject the teachings of our Church. This is all part of
learning how to love.
Today the First Letter to the Thessalonians reminds us that our challenge
is receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit.
This tells us that it is not always easy to understand what it means to
live, that sometimes trying to live will put us in great affliction and yet
we will receive joy from the Holy Spirit as we struggle to be faithful to
In a family or in a religious community or in a parish community, it is not
easy to love those who reject the way of life of the family, of the
religious community or of the parish. Loving these people does not mean
rejecting the way of life handed down to us in the Lord. It does mean
seeking ways to love those who reject it. This is part of the ongoing
challenge of following Jesus Christ.
Today, as we hear the Word of God once more, we can commit ourselves to
loving others once more and to seeking active ways of love those who cannot
follow the way of life that we have received from Jesus. May the Holy
Spirit guide us!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 22.21-27
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1.5c-10
Gospel: Matthew 22.34-40
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: