Loving God and loving our neighbours as ourselves
Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary time (A)
Moses has received ten commandments from God, yet the Jewish people understood these commandments to have been a summary of hundreds of precepts. Thus, they have come up with 613 commandments all in all. Three hundred sixty-five of these commandments which is equal to the number of days in a single year, are prohibitions. While 248 of these are laws of direction, one for each bone of our body. Of course, the Jews would try to follow all these laws on the letter. However, because of this great number of commands, they would be challenged to know which among these is the greatest of all commandments. So the Pharisees (the group of Jews who are strict in following the letter of the law) went to Jesus and asked him what does he think is the greatest of all commandments. They did this not really for them to know, but just to trap Jesus, to try him…that is to say, to know if Jesus really is a good follower of the law of Moses. Jesus knew what they have in mind, so as usual he took the opportunity to tell them the real meaning, the true motivation, the foundation of all the commandments. He answered them by synthesizing all the 613 commandments into 2 very important laws: the law of loving God and loving our neighbours as ourselves.
Our mission is to love therefore. This is what Jesus seemed to be saying to the Pharisees. This is also what he has to say to us now: To love God and to love one another as we love ourselves.
Why do have to love? The answer is why not? God has created in love and through love. Thus, this is also our mission…to love. “Love is the one thing” saint Paul says to the Romans (Rom 13:10) “that cannot hurt your neighbours: that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.” St James would affirm St Paul saying: “Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of the scripture: you must love your neighbour as yourself.”
How do we express our love to God?
Be with him ( in prayers- personal or communal devotion, reading the Sacred Scriptures everyday, reviewing our relationship with him everyday)
Let’s endeavour to be our real selves as we know it, before him. Pretending to be somebody else before Him is a great insult to him because he has created us as a unique person.
Let’s us strive to make him the centre of our lives. This is a great challenge to take because there are many things, persons, events, experiences, and even the circumstances where we are in, that tend to take God out of the picture, out of the drama of our journey through life.