Gospel Reflection Oct 25 – Msgr. Hendricks
Sunday, October 25
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 22: 34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall 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 is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The teachings of Jesus are meant to focus our eyes and hearts on God and away from any self-serving need or desire. The reply of Jesus to the expert in the Jewish Law, (and this expert is not a disciple of Jesus) simply quotes part of the prayer that each of the Jews would say several times a day. The prayer is called the SHEMA. It reminds the person praying it to love the Lord their God wholly and fully, and to commit their whole being, and everything that makes them who they are–to God. The second part of the great commandment asks to commit to the love of neighbor over self. But the neighbor is not simply the ones you know. Love of neighbor extends to the global community of anyone who is suffering from emotional, material, or physical needs.
The gospel goes on to say that the whole Law and the prophets depend on these two essential commandments.
As we draw ever nearer to the national elections, trying to deal with the ills of society, the pandemic, racism, violence and gang shootings, we may want to stop and reflect what Jesus says in the gospel today, and write it on our hearts. A disciple of Jesus cannot deny this basic identity to help change our world, even a little bit by our actions and see in the other, whatever neighbor comes your way, the face of Christ Jesus.