30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 29, 2023
Reading 1 Ex 22:20-26 Thus says the LORD: "You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. "If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him. If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51 R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength. I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. R. I love you, Lord, my strength. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies. R. I love you, Lord, my strength. The LORD lives and blessed be my rock! Extolled be God my savior. You who gave great victories to your king and showed kindness to your anointed. R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
Reading 2 1 Thes 1:5c-10 Brothers and sisters: You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And 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 the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
Alleluia Jn 14:23 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 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 High Calling of Love
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
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“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.” Matthew 22:37–40
Think about the many things you desire in life. What would make up that list? Perhaps there are many good things that would be included, such as a desire for strong family relationships, good health, a happy life, good friends, and financial security. Perhaps there are other things that would be included, such as success in an occupation, nice vacations, a new home, and fun adventures in life. If you were to make a list like this that began with your deepest desire, what would come first? We might all know what should come first, but if you were to honestly examine the desires of your heart right now, what would be on the top of that list?
Ideally, the first and greatest desire of our souls would be the two greatest commandments. Above all else you will desire to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Is that the deepest desire of your heart?
What’s important to note is that we ought not love God with most of our heart, soul and mind. We don’t just love Him with 51% and then allow ourselves to disseminate the other 49% to other loves. No, 100% of our love must go to God. God must be the single and exclusive object of our love.
If you were to give to God 100% of your love, what would you have left for others? The glorious nature of our love of God is such that the more love we offer to God, the more we have to give away to others. When we give our love to God, He does not take it away from us and keep it for Himself in a selfish way as if He is jealous and possessive. Instead, loving God transforms our ability to love in such a way that we have even more than we started with. We are limited creatures and we are limited in our ability to love. God is infinite and His love is infinite in nature. Therefore, when we give our limited love to God, we receive back from Him His infinite love. This love is then able to overflow from our lives and can be distributed without reserve.
So back to our original question: Do you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind? If you do, then it means that every part of who you are is caught up in the mind and will of God. It means that you continuously seek to understand God and all that He has revealed to you. It means that you seek to comprehend His perfect will for you every day of your life. It means that you choose only that which God wills and that you do so with passion, zeal and fervor. It means that you are continuously attentive to God, respond to His gentle promptings of grace, and are led by Him every moment of every day of your life. That is a high calling! But it is the calling you have been given. Then, and only then, will you be loving yourself with the love of God by opening yourself to His outpouring of love, and only then will you be able to act as an instrument of God’s love to those around you.
Reflect, today, upon the high and definitive calling you have been given to love God with every fiber of your being. Your love must become all-consuming. It must be total and without hesitation. It will require the complete sacrifice of your life, the full purging of your sins, the denunciation of all selfishness and a heart that is open to the infinite power of God’s transforming touch. Because God commanded this, it is possible. It is possible to become a great saint. Shoot for nothing less. Never give up on this high calling, and know that it is the only way to the fulfillment in life that you deeply desire.
My loving Lord, You have given everything to me and ask for everything in return. Please help me to understand Your perfect love and to choose it with all my might. I do love You, dear Lord. Help me to love You with all that I am. Jesus, I trust in You.