10-25-2020 Reflection

Reflection for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading: Exodus 22:20-26
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:5C-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

I am compassionate. Our first reading from the Book of Exodus ends with God speaking these words to the Israelite people. Compassion is a quality that is revealed to us by God Himself. The reading outlines how God asks the Israelites to be compassionate. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan…If you lend money…you shall not act as an extortioner…If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset. This is what Jesus means to love your neighbor as yourself. We are especially to have a spirit of compassion to those who are the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In the time of Jesus, the widows and orphans were poor, without power and defenseless. They were dependent on others to survive.

Just as God had a special concern for the neighbor, Jesus puts the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself on an equal level with loving God. In the letter of James, we hear that to love the God that we can not see, means to love the neighbor in front of us in need. Love is at the heart of Jesus’s teaching and the life He lived while in our midst. Jesus always shows us the way to love. We often think of the heart as the greatest symbol of love…but it is really the crucifix. Jesus revealed to us that authentic love involves self-giving and suffering. The greatest love a person can have for their friends, said Jesus, is to give his life for them. (Jn15:13)

We can not love based on our own strength. Our strength comes from Our Lord Jesus Christ…through the grace He gives us, especially in the sacraments, Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. As St. Paul wrote in Philippians: In Him who is the source of my strength, I have strength for everything. Psalm 18, today’s responsorial says: I love you, Lord, my strength. The great news is that God continues to love us, even when we fail to love – sin.

2020 will be remembered as a year of incredible change, in which we struggled to find stability and security. We will only find and know stability by living a life in Jesus Christ. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!

May God bless us all always!
Deacon Mike