Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - 29th October 2017
Reading 1, Exodus 22:20-26
20 'You will not molest or oppress aliens, for you yourselves were once aliens in Egypt.
21 You will not ill-treat widows or orphans;
22 if you ill-treat them in any way and they make an appeal to me for help, I shall certainly hear their appeal,
25 'If you take someone's cloak in pledge, you will return it to him at sunset.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 Yahweh is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer is my God. I take refuge in him, my rock, my shield, my saving strength, my stronghold, my place of refuge.
3 I call to Yahweh who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my foes.
4 With Death's breakers closing in on me, Belial's torrents ready to swallow me,
47 the God who gives me vengeance, and subjects whole peoples to me,
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, Matthew 22:34-40
What is the greatest rule of life?
35 and, to put him to the test, one of them put a further question,
36 'Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?'
38 This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39 The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.
40 On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.'
The Gospel of the Lord.
We do not earn God's love - it is freely given.
Reflection: How can we possibly love God above all else and obey his commandments willingly and joyfully, and how can we love our neighbor and willing lay down our life for their sake? Paul the Apostle tells us that "hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). We do not earn God's love - it is freely given to those who open their heart to God and who freely accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his love through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in his promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, for being united with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord Jesus, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves. Paul the Apostle writes, "For freedom Christ has set us free... only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [sinful inclinations], but through love be servants of one another" (Galatians 5:1,13). Do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart?
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, your love surpasses all. Flood my heart with your love and increase my faith and hope in your promises. Help me to give myself in generous service to others as you have so generously given yourself to me." Amen.
Love grows with faith and hope.