The 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – year A – 29th October 2023
Lectionary Readings: Ex. 22:20-26; Ps. 17 (18):2-4. 47.51; 1 Thess 1:5-10; Matt. 22:34-40Theme:
The King’s Greatest command; understand the Law and the Prophets.
The gospel of today once again demonstrates the Lord Jesus, as a superior handler of the Holy Scriptures while teaching us about the law of God. All of this begins with the question. It is in a section of the Gospel of Matthew where the Lord Jesus is repeatedly being asked questions. They are testing Him. All these groups of people who have different agendas are coming and trying to catch Him out in his words because Jesus at this point and time is a highly controversial figure. The Law of Moses was very important to the Hebrew Canon, the Lawyer, the scribe. Their job was not only to copy the Law of the Scripture, but they were charged with interpreting it and explaining it to the people. Now this person comes, and asks a simple question: “Rabbi (Teacher) which is the Great commandment in the Law?” Possibly he likes summation of all the Law.
Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. Now unless you’ve been attending Biblical seminars and even a lot of faithful people who’ve been in the Church for a while you don’t realize that when you think how many commandments are there in the Holy Scripture, possibly or most of us say ten and the answer is wrong: the ten commandments are a unique set of commandments because they were given to prophet Moses on these tablets of stone written with the Divine finger of God of Mount Sinai.
The Hebrew Scriptures have 613 commandments, and we can find a lot of Rules and amazing is that the Rabbi (Teacher) would break down the 613 commandments into 365 negative commandments which are 306 things you’re not supposed to do and then 148 positive commandments which are things are supposed to do. Now the question is what you are supposed to do in life and how do we boil life down to something that you can deal with because you can’t handle it, just forget the 613 laws, 10 Commandments or the two greatest commandments because I can’t handle any more: no more law and commandments.
What is life supposed to be? We are created to Love God and Love other people. Most of the time we have a tendency, to love lots of things: I love to eat or love to have fun, parties, meet up, visit different dating apps etc. but when you love those things you love it for what they give you or what you get out of them and, my beloved friends in Christ, that’s not the love that the Holy Scripture and Jesus Christ are talking about. Most of the things our culture in our world loves are things where I get what I want from them. We live in a day and an era where all love is, is I want what I want: brand new phone, money, house and lots more: sex for fun (one night stand) and much more, and it’s got it completely backwards.
In this system of living, we are supposed to Love God, and never be able to love other people until we experience the love of God. We know what the biggest problem is for most of us because we don’t love God with the totality of who we are. The way we love ourselves is wrong, we love ourselves in the wrong ways, and our self-love is a war. We can follow the two greatest commandments by remembering that every relationship begins with a big YES and every relationship is sustained with a big YES. When was the last time you said YES to God?
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How are we cultivating a life of Love that is giving not just receiving? 2. What is life supposed to be? What is the image of your personal God?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965) http://gcatholic.org/CatholicStudy
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Dunhill Malunar Timkang, Israel-Jerusalem, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2023