Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: LOVE: CURE FOR A WOUNDED WORLD (Matt 22:34-40)
By: FR. JOHNBOSCO OBIKA
Homily for Sunday October 25 2020
PREAMBLE: JUST RECENTLY SOME WAREHOUSES WITH COVID–19 PALLIATIVES MEANT FOR THE WERE FOUND IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. IT GOES A LONG WAY TO SHOW HOW THE WORLD IS WOUNDED WITH GREED AND AVARICE. TODAY, JESUS GIVES US A CURE FOR THE WOUNDED WORLD.
In today’s gospel, Christ wins another startling victory over the Pharisees who paraded themselves as experts in the Law of Moses. Their religious rigorousness made them to study closely the 615 precepts of the Torah and their voluminous commentaries. In the gospel, we see one of them, a lawyer and teacher of the law approaching Jesus to test if he has understanding of the law like himself. Christ, being a master who understands the meaning and purpose of the law gives a simplistic but yet a challenging definition of true religion. First and most important, love of God (Deut. 6:5), and secondly, love of neighbour (Lev. 19:18).
The first is that we must love God. We have an obligation to love God because He first loved us by giving his only begotten son for the salvation of the world (John 3:16). Christ says we must love God with all our heart. The heart, being the most profound and most personal part of the human person is the core of intimacy. Here, Jesus is saying: to love God is to enter into a personal relationship with him. We must also love him with all our soul. The soul is the seat of human desire. The psalmist in psalm 42 paints a good picture of a soul that yearns for God, “As the deer yearns for flowing streams, so do I yearn for you, my God…”. To love God we must have active longing for him, for holiness, for righteousness. Those who have this desire burning in their soul shall be satisfied as Jesus promised in the beatitude (Matt. 5:6).
We must also love God with our entire mind. The mind is the intellectual property of the human person. It is the faculty of consciousness and thought. To love God with our entire mind means to study and understand the truth of God revealed in the scriptures and to make a decision arising from the will. The more we know of God’s transcendental attributes which are love, truth, goodness, etc., the more we love what he loves, and hate what he hates.
Love of God is inseparable from the love of neighbor. This is because we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Every human person carries this image. The love God translates into the love of neighbour, and the love neighbour authenticates the love of God. Love of God is the basis of true humanitarianism and philanthropy.
And who is my neighbour? In the first reading of today, God widens the horizons of the Israelite neighbourhood to include the less privilege and their pathetic situation. The strangers, the orphans, the widows and the destitutes. Christ also states the boundless nature of neighbourhood in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Contrary to the popular opinion of his time, Christ demonstrates in this story that a good neighbour is one who has compassion for those in need irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation and belief and takes a positive action to ameliorate their predicament. This is Christ’s civilization of love; this is Christianity summarized and religion simplified.
Sadly, we live in a world with a totally different idea of love- love that is selfish. Consequently, walls of hate and prejudice are towering high; the monstrous heads of religious bias and racism are prevailing. The boundaries of neighbouhood are thinning, individualism is on the increase. Idolization of wealth, deification of pleasure and adulation of power have made inroads even in our Christian communities with their pernicious influences.
Dear friends, today Christ has given us a simple weapon to combat these threats to Christian values- the weapon of love. Christ conquered the world with love. Love lured him to the cross for our salvation. If Jesus could, we too can. We conclude this reflection with the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”. May God help us to love him and see him in our neighbours that the world will be a better place for all of us as we await in joyful hope the blessed vision of his glory in heaven.
FR. JOHNBOSCO OBIKA