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10/29/17 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Damian

What is the purpose of God's law and commandments?


From the first reading from Exodus and the Gospel reading, we can contemplate three scenes: In a first scene, as in the reading, Jesus was asked, "Which is the most important commandment in the Law?" As expected Jesus said, "to love God," and he added, "another one very similar to it," "to love the neighbor."


     A surprising answer because for the Jews, the neighbor was the fellow Jew or the resident alien; for Jesus the neighbor was every fellow human being, Samaritan, Gentile and enemy included.


     In a second scene we have Jesus at the last supper telling his disciples, "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you". Jesus tells this to his disciples after he had washed their feet: "If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another's feet. I have just given you an example that as I have done, you also must do."


     Love of neighbor is shown by service, especially to those in need. Love of neighbor is shown by loving neighbor in the same way that Jesus showed his love for us, even to the death of the cross.

In a third scene we can picture Jesus with us. Jesus has given us his commandment "to love one another as I have loved you." How ought we to live his commandment today, here and now?


     Clearly there is no single answer for all. God speaks to us in varied ways; each one of us lives our unique lives in our unique circumstances. Saul who persecuted the early Christians before he was thrown down from his horse, lost his sight and was restored his sight by Ananias, became God's "chosen instrument to bring my name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well"


     What does God want of me? Have I encountered God in a personal meaningful way? If I have not, it will be extremely difficult for me to love him more than I love myself and to love others for love of him.


     The 26-year old Jesuit scholastic Richie Fernando encountered Christ and fell in love with him in a personal way to heed his call for the Jesuit mission in Cambodia some years ago. He met Christ and loved him in the young Cambodians he worked for and with. He literally followed Christ's command to love others by sacrificing his own life to protect others, including the trouble maker, from a grenade blast.


     We pray to experience God, as Paul the Apostle did, as Richie Fernando did. Then we can truly love him "with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind and also love our neighbor as ourselves."



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