A Reflection From Fr. Gerry
For the second weekend in a row we seemed to be asked a trick question. It was about the commandments. Remember the Jews had 613 commandments, that is a lot. We think that ten is a lot. Jesus was asked to name one, but he named two and both are to be found in the Old Testament, one in Deuteronomy and the other in Leviticus. What Jesus did was to bring two commandments together and gave them equal importance. So, he begins by saying that we love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. But immediately we ask, how can we do that? What does it mean to love a God that we cannot see?
Obviously, Jesus had something far more important in mind than our unconventional idea of love. For the most part, we are inclined to think of love as a fond feeling of warmth and affection. We sing about it, we talk about it, we read about it, we see it in movies, we think therefore that love is a deep feeling a person has for another. This is not what Jesus means, because we must realize that feelings are as unpredictable as the weather.
It seems to me that the beginning of our love of God has to do with awareness. We can all school ourselves to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God. We are surrounded every day by the beauty of God all around us, it is easier to appreciate that living here in this beautiful area. I have mentioned before that I like to begin my day in silence-I don’t need any television, radio, or newspapers. I like to do a brief litany of thanksgiving. I develop an awareness of God through the gifts he has given me, and the Eucharist helps to magnify and increase the awareness of his presence.
But then we move through the day, some days are not easy. We could meet someone who gets on our nerves, who is rude, it could be a family member, someone working at the office or someone who has cheated us. It is no sin if we are not fond of them, but it is important to love them enough to wish them well and to pray for them. Jesus is not placing the emphasis on how we feel but on how we act.
The last story that Jesus ever told was the parable of the final judgement and it has to do strictly with deeds not feelings. For example, he does not say, “I was hungry, and you felt sorry for me, I was naked, and you had sympathy for me.” The only thing that mattered to Jesus was that the hungry were fed, the naked were clothed, the sick were visited and so on. Jesus was the ultimate realist. So, Jesus is not really interested on how we feel about people. That is not the issue. His concern is on how we treat people. Jesus has given us the guidelines.
May God go with you.
READINGS FOR OCTOBER 25, 2020
1st Reading—Exodus 22: 20-26—The faithful and gracious Lord said, “You shall not wrong any widow or orphan…If you take your neighbor’s cloak…return it to him before sunset. If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”
Responsorial Psalm: #18: 2-3, 3-4, 47, 51—“I love you, Lord, my strength.”
2nd Reading—1 Thessalonians 1: 5c-10—Paul commended the Christians of Thessalonica: “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all believers…the word of the Lord has sounded forth.”
Alleluia—“Alleluia! Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. Alleluia!”
Gospel—Matthew 22: 34-40—In response to a question from some Pharisees who wanted to trip him up, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart…soul…and mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” These are the two great commandments.