1. EX 22:20-26
2.1Thes 1:5c -10
3.Mt22: 34-40

THEME OF THE READINGS:"The entire law of God is summarized in Love"

In the readings today more especially from the Gospel we see Pharisees like last Sunday, bringing the question to Jesus about the greatest commandment of God, Jesus in responding to the problem/ question raised by his counter parts, the Pharisees he responds that question out of their expectations. Jesus in responding to their question seems to answer beyond their expectations. For Jesus the love of God must be expressed in three dimensions that is 1. Love of God, 2.Love of Neighbor, and 3.Love of oneself. Between three dimensions of love, the emphasis of love Jesus is putting before his counterparts is all about the love of neighbor. The religious readers in Israel more especially the Pharisees tried their best to observe the law Moses Meticulously and  scrupulously, the law that contained 613 Precepts, on that account among the Pharisees there was a doubt about which precept/ law among these was the greatest? Apart from observing all these laws they forget one thing in their life, that is the love of neighbor. They completely forget that in the same society they were living there were people who did not enjoy privileges they themselves enjoyed.Such people are like strangers, orphans, and widows, such people were people considered to be oppressed in the society by that time, such people could not be regarded in terms of basic necessities of their life, they could not enjoy a virtue we call justice, and love from their brethren. It is under this note, Jesus is reminding pharisees that they have observed the law of God, that is to love  God, yet on the other side of the Coin they have forgotten a crucial responsibility, that is to express their love towards their neighbor, the neighbor spoken in this context is all about the poor and vulnerable of the society by that time. The moral lesson we get from this reading is that, nobody will claim to express the love of God if he or she does not have any concern with neighbor,that is to have a special concern to those who are sick, to those who are looking for a helping hand.
Jesus in attempting to explain this he tells the Pharisees that the love of a neighbor is the love that is not selective for Jews a neighbor meant some one who belonged to their family/ to their tribe, that means the one who was not a Jew could not be counted as neighbor, with this situation Jesus is criticizing this view that the neighbor is not only someone close to us, but the neighbor is any body seeking our helping hand. The love of neighbor is closely associated with the love of oneself. In our life experience let us see how can we apply this reading pastorally? the pastoral concern more especially in our church today is how do we express the teaching of Jesus about love to our fellow brothers and sisters today? how people come and knock at our doors asking for help? do we regard such people as our neighbor? three things usually dominate us to an extent that we tend to forget the needs of others, the first one is Pride, 2. Selfishness,and 3. Jelousness. When every body in the community/society strive to maintain peace and order of the society, thus on the other hand that person  is expressing the love of neighbor.

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Chapisha Maoni