Homily for Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent Year A
Theme: The Greatest Commandment
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Friday, March 29 2019
(Mt. 12:28-34) Day Twenty-Four (24) of Lent
In today’s Gospel Jesus was confronted with the question of what is the greatest commandment. Note that from the original Ten Commandments, they had multiplied to more than four hundred detailed rules. The response of JESUS revealed only one which may be expressed through all the others. God must be loved fully. If we do, we cannot but fulfill all the other commandments. In other words, all commandments are in the context of and have as goal, loving God.
The First Reading from the prophet Hosea details what awaits those who will not love God by following the commandments. God, through the prophet Hosea, invited the Israelites to convert and be nourished again by His love. The graphics used by Hosea were so clear that only a hardened heart will not respond. Hosea stressed on the transformation as a result of repentance than the pain of punishment due to the rejection of the love of God.
St. Ignatius of Loyola must have understood and seen through this commandment. No doubt it is a hard command to achieve. Human beings would always cling to the idea that something must be left to self. Total self-giving is nearly, if not an impossible, command to achieve. Yet, there lies our salvation, there lies the very essence of our being a disciple, and there lies our meaning and purpose in life. Thus, St. Ignatius uttered in his prayer, “Take and receive, O Lord, my liberty, my will, my mind, and my memory. All things I own are are yours. They were your gifts to me.” St. Ignatius came to know and accepted the fact that only in fully giving oneself to God can one find himself and achieve his meaning and purpose.
God does not really want to literally rip us off with what we have. He wanted for us to use them according to His will. We do not own them. They were entrusted by God to us; our intelligence, riches, fame, power, authority, and yes, including our lives, etc. We are not free to use them at will. We must be stewards of everything God gave us. We are responsible and accountable to its rightful owner who is God. In this sense, we remain humble and are able to fully submit ourselves to God’s Holy Will.