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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 30th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Exod 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: 17
R/. I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, o Lord, my strength, o Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

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.

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.
2nd Reading (1Thess 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.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 22,34-40): When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. One of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to test him with this question, «Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law?». Jesus answered, «‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. But after this there is another one very similar to it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments».

«You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart (…). You shall love your neighbor as yourself»

Fr. Johannes VILAR (Köln, Germany)

Today, the Church reminds us of our “attitude before life” («The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments»: Mt 22:40). St. Matthew and St. Mark put these words upon Jesus Christ's lips, St. Luke ascribes them to a Pharisee. But, as a dialogue, always. Several times, Jesus Christ would be asked, probably, similar questions. Jesus Christ replies with the beginning of the Shema: prayer formed by two verses from the Deuteronomy and one from the Numbers, which fervent Jews had to say at least twice a day: «Hear O Israel! The Eternal, our God (...)». By reciting it during their daily chores, they become God conscious, while remembering the most important thing in their lives: To love God, our Lord, above “everything and everyone” and our neighbor as ourselves. Afterwards, when the Last Supper is over, and with the example of the washing of the feet, Jesus Christ gives us a “new commandment”: to love each other as He loves us, with “divine strength” (cf. Jn 14:34-35).

We need decision to practice “de facto” this sweet commandment —which more than a commandment is elation and capacity— in dealing with others: men and things, work and leisure, spirit and matter, because they all are God's creatures.

On the other hand, by being infused with God's Love, that overfills all our being, we are able to respond to “the divine contents” of this Love. Merciful God, who not only takes away the sin of the world! (cf. Jn 1:29), but who divinizes us and makes us “participants” (only Jesus Christ is the Son of God by Nature) of the Divine Nature; the Holy Spirit bears testimony to our human spirit that we are children of God through the Son. St. Josemaria Escriva liked to speak of “deification”, word with a certain tradition amongst the Fathers of the Church. For Instance, St. Basil the Great wrote: «As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit dwells, and who are enlightened by the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others (…) and we enter into eternal happiness and abide in God. Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations: we become God». Let us truly hope so!

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