Love by Act

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Come and See 65
30th A                                        
Exodus 22:20-26
I Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Mt 22:34-40

In a series of being “attacked” by Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees, Jesus gradually reveals his identity through parables and answers. All in all, Jesus emphasizes that He is the Son of God, the Son of David, and the Prophet the Old Testament talks about.

In the Gospel today, the Sadducees raise another question to challenge Jesus. They challenge Jesus about his prophetic role by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Without hesitation, Jesus cites Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” and Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus sums up all the  precepts of the Scripture into two: Love God and love neighbor.

Lord, help us to love you by acts, not by words.

While having raised this question, the Sadducees might have thought that Jesus would give the answers according to the priority of Moses’ Law. Some might think that the law of circumcision was the greatest one, some the law of Sabbath, others the law of sacrifice, others the law of offering. This question was another trap which Sadducees challenged Jesus. This question forced Jesus to make a comparison of the precepts of Moses’ law. Which one was the most important? Furthermore, if Jesus set the priority of this precept, but not another, He could have had trouble with different parties standing around him. The Pharisees strictly focused on the law of Sabbath; while the Sadducees wanted to emphasize the law of sacrifice and offering. Again, Jesus gave them the crucial answer for the practicing of their faith: “Do you love God and love your neighbor in practicing your religion?”

* * *

A conversation between two farmers can somehow illustrate the way we talk about love and the way we live it in our daily life.[i]

First farmer: “If you had two fields, wouldn’t you be willing to share one of them?”
Second farmer: “Of course!”

First farmer: “And if you had two houses, you couldn’t live in both, so you’d be happy to share the other, wouldn’t you?”
Second farmer: “Oh, absolutely!”
First farmer: “If you had two cars, you would be willing to give one to your neighbor who had none, wouldn’t you?”

Second farmer: “Yes, indeed!”

First farmer: “Suppose you had two horses, you would give one to your neighbor, wouldn’t you?”
Second farmer: “Uh, no, I couldn’t do that!”
First farmer: “Why not?”

Second farmer: “Because I have two horses.”

* * *

My friends, we pray for one another that we truly love God and love one another. True love demands to sacrifice and to give oneself to others. We can talk about love, but we hardly live it because we do not have courage enough to give ourselves to God and to others. The only way can make us to become a religious person is to truly love, not only to talk about love. 

Lord, help us to love you by acts, not by words.


[i] Pulpit Humor, Vol I, (New Jersey:Sermon Warehouse, 2005), 139.

 

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