Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 28, 2018)

All of us like short, clear instructions. Jesus’ fulfills our desire in today’s Gospel passage. When he is asked about the greatest commandment, he quotes a text from the book of Deuteronomy (6.5) familiar to his listeners: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.” Then he adds the familiar commandment from the book of Leviticus (19.18): “The second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Jesus’ response is short and clear: loving God, neighbor and self is everything that God commands. It should be very simple, then, to do all God commands. If your experience is like mine, we know that loving God, neighbor and self is not easy at all. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to love each day, every day. Loving means that I have to look beyond myself and my needs and notice and respect the needs of every person I encounter.

Today’s first reading from the book of Exodus reminds us that caring for the least among us is an important aspect of loving. How we treat the alien, the widow and the orphan among us reveals something about the way we love God. Remembering where we have come from can help us to be sensitive to the value and worth of those who are less fortunate.

Isn’t it interesting that the Lord asks the Israelites to remember that they were aliens at one time in Egypt. What might the Lord be asking you and me to remember today that will help us to be more attentive to people less fortunate than we are?

Jesus spoke to us very simply and clearly this (afternoon/morning). He told us how we are to live if we want to be pleasing to our God. Love God with your whole being, and love your neighbor as yourself.

We can benefit greatly if we take these words of Jesus and pray with them this week. As we read them slowly and prayerfully, we can ask the Lord to show us how we can live them out today.

The word of God then becomes a living word for me, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me in every day life. Let us pray for each other that we may be open to the ways the Lord will call us to love this week.