ON THIS THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME Jesus tells us the single most important thing we need to do in our lives. If we do everything else but don’t do this, we will not have lived our short life one earth well, and we will not have passed the test of life. There were 613 commands in the Old Testament. To choose which of them was the greatest was something that the scholars of the law had found difficult for centuries. Jesus’ answer came from what God had inspired Moses to teach the Jewish people after he had rescued them from Pharaoh. From that point forward, faithful Jews have recited it every day: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Then God – through Moses – gave them instructions to keep hammering this reality home every day: “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Even though they recited this when they awoke and went to bed, even though they did make a phylactery to hand it down from their hair so that it would be an emblem on their forehead, even though the put it on a scroll and installed it next to their front door, the Jews still hadn’t realized its supremacy – in other words, why did God have them do all of these things? It was precisely because loving God with all we are and have is simply the most important thing we need to do in life. Jesus reminded His listeners of this in His response to the question “what is the greatest of all the commandments?”. But then Jesus added something else. Jesus knew that if He stopped merely with the love of God, many people would think that they were doing just fine. He wanted to give a clear means by which they could evaluate whether we are doing so. He said that there is a second commandment, taken from the Book of Leviticus, that is similar to the greatest: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18). We can see the obvious connection between love and the commandments when we focus on the ten most famous of them.
- How could we ever claim to love God if we’re worshiping idols or misusing his name?
- How could we claim to love him if we don’t come to worship him on the day he calls his own?
- How could we ever love our parents if we dishonor them?
- How could we claim to love others if we hate or kill them?
- How could we love our spouse if we cheat on him or her?
- How could we truly love another if we use them for our sexual pleasure and risk their eternal salvation?
- How could we love someone if we’re stealing from them?
- How could we love someone if we’re lying about them or lying to them?
- How could we really love someone if we’re envious rather than happy about the good things they have in their lives?
Folks, simply put, the law of God is a law of love! We must remember that every violation of His commandments is a violation of love. So when God tells us “Thou shalt not…,” the prohibition is to help us to preserve love in a manner that God intended, not the self-centered “love” the way the world often embraces.
THANK YOU to those who helped organize last Saturday’s pilgrimage to the Shrine and National Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio – namely J.P. Pacis, Michael Elton, and Carrie Boor. There were approximately 80 pilgrims from our parishes of Saint Joseph Cathedral and Holy Cross Church, and persons from other parishes from around the Diocese – all of whom had a wonderful time, and for many this was their first visit to the Shrine. I would also like to thank the Conventual Francisan Friars of the Shrine who were very hospitable and welcoming, as always, and who provided a prayerful, spiritual day for all. We will do this again!
WE PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF CANADA who had an act of terrorism on their peaceful soil this past week. Let us offer our prayers to God in support of those who have been most affected by the events in Ottawa, especially for Canadian Army Reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who was killed while standing guard at the Canadian War Memorial, and for his family members and friends; let us also pray for a restoration of Christ’s peace and the security of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon all Canadians.
THIS SUNDAY THE DIOCESE CALLS ATTENTION TO “MY HOUSE COLUMBUS” and the ministry they provide for those struggling with an addiction to pornography. Confidential, local help, support and counseling is available to those who struggle with an addiction to pornography through My House Columbus. Out of genuine love and care for others, please share the information in this bulletin with those who struggle with an addiction to pornography. We priests can work with this addiction in the confessional. But sometimes additional help is needed. Please do not be embarrassed about this addition – instead focus on getting your life back and recommit to a living a life in Christ.
Fr. Mike Lumpe