October 25, 2020
The Lord says, “If you blow them up and yell at me, I will hear their cry.
because I’m compassionate.”
I love you, Lord, You are my strength.
Jesus Christ, Word of the Father, tells us today:
“Thou wit the Lord thy God with all thy heart. and your neighbor as yourself.”
Reading the book of Exodus 22, 20-26
This is what the Lord says:
“You will not mistreat or oppress the migrant, for emigrants were you in the land of Egypt.
You won’t exploit widows or orphans. If you exploit them and shout at me, I will hear their cry, my wrath will ignite, and I will kill them by sword; their women will be widowed and their children orphaned.
If you lend money to someone in my village, to a poor man who lives with you, you won’t be with him a loan shark giving him interest.
If you take your neighbor’s mantle on the garment, you’ll give it back to her before the sun goes down, because she doesn’t have another dress to cover her body, and where else she’s going to go to bed? If he yells at me, I’ll listen to him, because I’m compassionate.”
Come out 17, 2-3a. 3bc-4. 47 and 51ab
R/. I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
I love you, Lord; you are my strength; Sir, my rock, my alcazar, my liberator. R/.
My God, my rock, my refuge, my shield, my saving force, my bulwark.
I invoke the Lord from my praise and be free from my enemies. R/.
Long live the Lord, bless my Rock, be my God and Savior.
You gave great victory to your king, you had mercy on your anointed. R/.
Reading St Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians 1, 5c-10
You know how we behave with each other for your sake. And you followed our example and that of the Lord, accepting the Word in the midst of great tribulation, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Thus they became a model for all the believers of Macedonia and Aaya.
Not only has the word of the Lord resonated in Macedonia and in Aaya from his community, but also their faith in God has spread everywhere, so that we had no need to explain anything, because they themselves tell the details of the visit we made to them: how you converted to God, abandoning idols, to serve the living and true God, and to live waiting for the return of his Son Jesus from heaven, to whom he has risen from the dead and who frees us from future punishment.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 22, 34-40
At that time, the Pharisees, hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, gathered in one place and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked him to put him to
“Master, what is the main commandment of the law?”
‘You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.’
This commandment is the principal and first. The second is similar to him:
‘You will love your neighbor as yourself.’
These two commandments sustain the whole Law and the Prophets.”
In our culture there is a saying that says: “Good understander, few words are enough.” Certainly today’s Word of God doesn’t need much comment. Your message is clear, direct and understandable. If we are willing to listen and understand what God wants from us, we do not need to elucubrate too much, or justify with reasoning; it is enough to put into practice what the gospel says.
Jesus is again tested, today by the Pharisees, teachers of the Law. The Jews, who had filled their religion with precepts and norms, were rarely engaged in discussions about the importance or precedence of one mandate over others. In this context they ask Jesus about the main commandment. And Jesus, as always, goes to the essentials, to which he does not change, to which he synthesizes the essence of God and of every human being: love. God simply wants us to love Him and love each other.
At first glance it seems as if Jesus had responded without contributing anything new, simply remembering something they already knew and that they had as the most important thing of the Law. In the Decalogue of the Old Testament, found in several of his books, it is said that the main commandment is that: “Listen to Israel: Thou art to love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, with all thy being.”
But Jesus does bring something new. something else in the answer that was not included in the question; He speaks of the second commandment, which He calls “like” the first, and which consists, Jesus says, in “loving your neighbor as yourself.” And he concludes by stating that these two commandments sustain the whole Law and the Prophets, that is, the doctrine and practice of the entire Jewish religion, of the Covenant of Yahweh with his people, the people of promise. They also support the essence of Christianity, the ultimate expression of which is the very life of Jesus, who loved us to the extreme while still being one with the Father. It is God’s project for all mankind, for all men and women of goodwill, who understand that the essence of life is to love.
Jesus definitively links love for God with love for one’s neighbour. The “Alliance Code”, one of whose fragments is offered to us at today’s first reading, already did so clearly and forcefully, proposing the weakest and most helpless as the first to whom to address with love and mercy: migrants, widows, orphans, the poor… in exchange for not being punished by God with the same sufferings that they endure. The similarity between the two commandments pointed out by Jesus can be understood as identity. Later St John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple of Jesus, will remind us that we cannot say that we love God, whom we do not see, if we do not love the brother whom we see.
We also discover two important details in how the Lord enunciations this second commandment. It says “you will love your neighbor”, that is, the next, the close one, whom we see every day, with whom we share life. It is not a generic mandate to theoretically love one’s neighbour, the unknown, the distant, but concrete to love each one’s neighbor. The second detail is how Jesus proposes to love us. “as yourself,” that is, as if the other were you, as if one’s neighbor were part of your being.
Indirectly this mandate makes us reflect on how we love ourselves or whether we love ourselves. Loving oneself cannot be interpreted as a gesture of egomaniac, selfish or self-centered complacency, as rejectable as hating oneself, with your life and your story. God wants us to love ourselves, truth and truth, also ourselves, for God’s imprint is deep in each other’s being and He is the one who has loved us first, and Continues to love us, despite our miseries, even if we do not love each other. Loving oneself as it is, accepting its history also with its mistakes and gaps, is the first step in being able to regenerate and walk forward in conversion and following the Lord.
God who, in essence, is Love between the Father and the Son through the Spirit, has created us out of love and to love. Our essence is also to love, to love God, to others and to ourselves, to love as God loves us, to love because God loves us. God’s love we have known him in Jesus Christ. His new mandate reminds us to love one another as He has loved us, or better, as He continues to love us. And his love consists in the surrender of one’s life. His mandate, rather than a law or a standard to be fulfilled, is to live what we are and for what we have been created by Him, which is infinite, total, compassionate, and merciful love, eternal.
The celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday, the Day of the Lord, which brings us closer to Christ, The Word incarnate, the Bread of Eternal Life, Blood shed for each of us, helps us to rediscover God’s Love for each of us, to continue to grow in love for others, particularly those closest and needy of our love, including thanksgiving so God , rich in mercy, generous and provident, has placed in each of us.
As St Paul says to the Thessalonians, let us welcome today’s Word, amid so many tribulations that whip us, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
I love you, Lord, because you’re with me. You’re like a safe rock, like an alcazar.
You are my liberator, my rock, my refuge.
You are my saving force, the shield that protects me!
When I feel in danger, when I get close to evil and lying, stretching out their nets, You, Lord, listen to my call and answer my plea.
You are, Lord, the only one who remains. Everything happens, it’s all over, everything’s dead.
Only You live forever! That’s why, lord, I’ve put my trust in you.
You rid me of the mighty enemy, of the adversaries stronger than me.
You’re my support and you’re freeing me because you love me. You’re so big!
You have paid my righteousness, you have affirmed purity in my hands,
because I went your ways and I didn’t deny you.
Lord, I have been minded of your commands and have been faithful in keeping them for real.
You are loyal to the loyal, with the whole you are whole,
with the sincere you are sincere, with the hypocrite you are shrewd.
You save the afflicted people and humiliate the proud eyes.
Lord, You light my lamp; Oh, my God, you light up my darkness.
Trusting you, I get into the fight, trusting you, assaulting the difficulties.
It’s worth walking your way.
I wonder: Who is God outside of you? What security is outside of you?
You stick in my courage and you make my behavior perfect.
You’re like a shield, you train me for the fight, and you strengthen my arms.
I say unto you, Long live the Lord, blessed be my Rock!
I say unto you, Be my Savior!
For how great you have been to me I thank you in the midst of men,
because you always accompany me and dress me with power in the strength of your Spirit, I thank you. I’m not afraid, I feel safe in you.
You are the courage and encouragement for my struggle. You are, Lord, the God who saves.
(Pray on foot barefoot, 29).