Friday, August 19 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint John Eudes, Priest; Founder, Congregation of Jesus and Mary
Holy Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Meditation: Let’s get back to something quite basic and foundational: What is the purpose of God’s laws and commands? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law of Moses and the ritual requirements of the law. They made it a life-time practice to study the 613 precepts of the Torah – the books of the Old Testament containing the Law of Moses. Jesus startled them with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its true purpose. Jesus summarized the whole of the law in two great commandments found in 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”. So what, then. does God require of us? Simply that we love as he loves! God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. God loved us first and our love for him is a response to his exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbor is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth the more we love what he loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to his will.
Prayer: O God, who wonderfully chose the Priest Saint John Eudes to proclaim the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant us, by his example and teachings, that, growing in knowledge of you, we may live faithfully by the light of the Gospel. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Faith in God and hope in God’s promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God, and uniting ourselves with him. The more we know of God the more we love him and the more we love him the greater we believe and hope in his promises. The Lord Jesus, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as he loves. So has anything entered your life that keeps you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart? Saint Paul the Apostle wrote: “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.