【英汉主日分享】| Whoever Loves Meets God (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time —Year A
Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew,
Glory to you, O Lord!
When the Pharisees heard that he 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 Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.
Homily：Whoever Loves Meets God
Hillel, a famous rabbi who lived a few years before Christ, once said “What you do not like, don’t do to your neighbor! This is the whole Law; the rest is commentary.” Philo, a Jewish contemporary of Jesus, from Alexandria summed up the Law into love of God and neighbor. So what is the novelty in the teaching of Jesus?
In the great commandment with two parts, the first is the love of God, that must involve three faculties: the heart, the soul, and the mind.
God, first of all, is to be loved with an undivided heart (with all the heart). Today there are believers, people in the church, who fulfill all religious practices, but at the same time worship their bank account, social position, honorary titles, career, power, and their ambitions. They have indeed a “divided heart”; they do not love with all their heart, as Jesus demands.
With all life (soul). The believer is required to have the willingness to sacrifice everything (money, interest, emotional ties and rights), and even the courage to face martyrdom, while not failing in their faith. Loving God, trusting him can lead to, as often happens, making choices and heroic sacrifices.
With all your mind. Even the rational aspect is part of the love of God. Emotions cannot be the object of a commandment. However, anyone interested in futility, who spends more time with frivolous arguments, who gossips about celebrities rather than studying the word of God, who ignores the theological and moral issues today, who does not undertake to investigate the reasons of their faith, is less involved in the love of God.
After having stated what the greatest commandment is, Jesus adds that this also is the first. He makes this specification to introduce the second, which is like the first: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 39), and here the more apparent novelties begin. What Hillel put negatively, Jesus tells positively to his disciples: “So do to others what you would others do to you; there you have the Law and the Prophets.”
The concluding statement: “The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments.” They should be taken as the criteria for evaluating every precept. All laws are good if they are an expression of love. They should be rejected if they oppose it because they are a hindrance to the good of the people.
Later, Paul and subsequent New Testament authors would reduce the two into one Law—love of people. “For the whole law,” Paul reminds us， “is summed up in this sentence: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Love cannot do the neighbor any harm, so love fulfills the whole Law (Rom 13:8-10).
We know what it means to love others, even though it is not always easy to determine how this love can be made concrete. But how do we love God? The God of Jesus has never asked for anything for himself. He puts himself at the service of people, even to bending down to wash their feet, and asks us to do the same: “If such has been the love of God,” John says, “we too must love one another” (1 Jn 4:11). For love of people is still love turned to God because it is directed to his image (Gen 1:27).