October 29, 2023
Matthew 22: 34-40
Today’s readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time answer the age-old questions of who are my neighbors (everyone) and why should I care about them (because that is Jesus’ mandate). Love of God and Love of Neighbor are one and the same. As wars rage in the Holy Land, Europe and countless other countries the Sunday scripture readings offer a direct message to each of us. Respecting the alien (anyone different from me), giving hospitality to people (like Paul among the Thessalonians), and Jesus’ succinct message of love gives us pause as we tend to offer personal reflections on the happenings around us, These reflections sometimes stem from our own personal biases, prejudices and anger about things that have nothing to do with foreign wars. Being a Christian can be hard work at times when faced with people or situations where we think we should condemn someone or something and where we are called to step back and ponder before acting. It is jarring to see crowds of people jeering/cheering/egging on others who are attacking defenseless individuals or groups. Barabbas gained greatly from people such as these. Catholic Social Teaching places “the common good” as a center of decisions affecting the lives of others. Scripture has delineated people who are most marginalized as those who need the most attention. The vitriol among family members, neighbors, co-workers and those with differing views are often wrapped around a semblance of concern. This can be a form of violence because it is designed to hurt, even if we think no one will hear of it. Negativity plants seeds that others take in and repeat. Jesus constantly challenges us to bring compassion to others and we can feel overwhelmed at this time of year as the major holidays approach. Taking time to sit quietly and allow scripture to sink into our consciousness may open oases of rest from all the activity surrounding us. Being a follower of Jesus is hard work. We enter Heaven as a community member; we do not arrive there alone. The people who have connected with us throughout our life are part of our entourage. Have we disconnected some of them who don’t fit our current profile? If we aren’t being challenged to love and care for other people and all God’s creatures, including Mother Earth, perhaps we aren’t paying attention to the calls/needs around us. God first, others next, care of the environment enfolding us all!
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 Gospel of the Lord.
Meet Sister Maria Delaney, SNDdeN