30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
25th October 2020
Year A – Psalter week 2
The Commandments of Love
Upon being asked which of the commandments is the greatest, Jesus replies: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.” The Ten Commandments are given in this order, with the first three concerned with love of God, and the other seven concerned with love of neighbour. Concerning this law of love, or charity, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that: “By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all virtues, ‘binds everything together in perfect harmony’ (Colossians 3:14)” (Par. 1844).
St. Paul describes the importance of love in everything we do in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing… And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3,13). Love, then, is the context within which we are called to live our Christian lives, and out of which to exercise our faith.
The source of love is God, and if we are to live in God then we must dwell in God’s love and seek to share that love with others. St. John the Evangelist puts it this way: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). He goes on to explain how in order to share God’s love with others, we must first receive it ourselves: “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:9-13). Loving God and neighbour are not, then, achieved in our own power and strength. Rather, we can only experience, express, and grow in love of God and neighbour by opening our hearts more and more to the Risen Jesus and to the gift of his Holy Spirit.
What, then, are some of the signs of God’s love working in and through us? Today’s first reading from Exodus gives us some practical pointers: welcoming immigrants and those new to our community, looking after the vulnerable, lending to the poor without charging interest and carefully considering the needs of our neighbour. In terms of spiritual signs of God’s love at work in our lives, St. Paul helps us by describing some of the qualities of love: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
When it comes to loving God and neighbour we all know that we are on a journey. We mostly love imperfectly and have mixed motives for our good deeds. The more we journey with Jesus, however, and keep persevering in his love, the more we can allow him to purify our hearts and intentions, and the more transparent and docile we can become to the love of his Holy Spirit working in and through us.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall cone to him. Alleluia!