Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exod 22:21-27; Psalm 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 47 and 51ab (R.2); 1Thess 1:5c-10; Matt 22:34-40


There is really no other commandment than the call to love. A careful consideration of all the commandments of God would show us that that is in the mind of God when giving out the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Unfortunately, hypocrisy and pharisaism have led to the bastardisation of that original intention of God. That was how the Pharisees led the Jews of Jesus time into the confusion they found themselves concerning the commandments of God.

God had given the Israelites the Ten Commandments, which summarized all that God wanted the people to do. But with time, in the process of interpreting and recopying those Laws, more were added by the rabbis. In addition to those were the customs that have persisted over the time. All numbered to count about 613 laws from the original 10. People became more confused and the common people were the most affected. Since Jesus showed compassion over the affliction of the poor, the Pharisees wanted to tempt him to see if he was going to show contempt for any of the laws (cf. Matt 22:34-35).

The response Jesus gave, that love of God (Deut 6:5) and of neighbour (Lev 19:18) are the greatest commandments, was a move towards reformation. People were losing focus and neglecting the essential; they were more interested in keeping the Law of God while neglecting the God of the Law. Of course, since God is love (1John 4:16), anyone who fails to love does not know God (1John 2:3-11).

At this point, remember the story of the Good Samaritan, which Jesus told to explain his answers more in the Lukan account of the same question from the Pharisees (Luke 10:25-37). There were two religious Jews – a priest and a Levite who passed the wounded man without assisting him, probably because they feared ritual defilement (cf. Num 19:11) or they feared for their own life. But, as St John tells us, the proof of Gods love is in laying down our lives for others as Christ did for us (1John 3:16).

The First Reading gives us practical examples of how we are going to show that love to others and the reason for that. The summary of that reading is just that we need to do others as we would want others to do to us. If indeed we love others, we will not steal what belongs to them because it will pain them and deny them of satisfaction; we will not commit adultery or fornication with them because this sin drives away the Holy Spirit from them since our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; we will not lie to them because that would them into error, etc.

St Paul reminds us in the Second Reading of the need for us to become examples for others to imitate. Do not look to the direction of others, expecting them to show love first before you love. Remember that we did not even merit the one Christ shows us (cf. Rom 5:8).

May God give us the grace to follow the example of Christ in loving him and our neighbours, not out of compulsion but willingly. Amen.

Peace be with you.

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