Thus says the LORD:
"You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the
then your own wives will be widows, and your children
"If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among
you shall not act like an extortioner toward him
by demanding interest from him.
If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge,
you shall return it to him before sunset;
for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am
Responsorial Psalm Ps 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives and blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
Reading 2 1 Thes 1:5c-10
Brothers and sisters:
You know what sort of people we were among you for your
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,
receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from
the Holy Spirit,
so that you became a model for all the believers
in Macedonia and in Achaia.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth
not only in Macedonia and in Achaia,
but in every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything.
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God
and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead,
Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
Gospel Mt 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
As I reflect upon my life in light of today’s gospel
reading, I am somewhat astounded at the power and the
implication of the “love” as I perceive It’s meaning by
our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is the unconditional
aspect that makes His love so powerful and necessary in
our lives, though I may never achieve that love
completely or to the degree that He did. But then I, and
perhaps you also, are only called to strive to love this
way as best we can. I am quite sure that the effort is
all that Jesus really expects, and there are in reality,
times that we can and do love unconditionally as a
result of that effort.
He gave and continues to give the command so clearly,
and leaves no doubt that this is what we are called to
do: “…. Love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart,
with all of your soul, and with all of your mind . . .
and love your neighbor as yourself . . . that whole law
and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” We
are being told to love, but to love with every fiber of
our being. Personally, I know that I fall short of that
much too often, but I do try with every fiber of my
being. Certainly we cannot do that as Jesus himself did,
not so completely and so totally. Perhaps we may think
that we can love God that way, but not much chance of
loving our neighbor the same way. At least it certainly
isn’t easy, especially when we ask ourselves the
question, “Who Is My Neighbor?” We might realize that it
was not easy for Jesus to take upon himself, the sins of
the world and to die for us, in our place, and to make
eternal life once again possible for us.
To love unconditionally is to rid ourselves of our
prejudices, our judgments, our expectations of others,
our inclinations to follow laws and practices that are
not of His asking. To love as Jesus commands us to is to
go beyond ourselves and to put Him first and our
neighbor first in every aspect of our loving, and to
certainly rid ourselves of a sinful life. We cannot
exempt ourselves from sin totally and completely, that
is true, for we are human. But we can certainly put
every effort everyday in making the decision to love,
and folks, perhaps that is where we and many fall so
short much of the time.
Jesus indicates that there is no minimum to love, but
love to the fullest of our ability to love. It is like a
tightrope walker; every single muscle movement has to be
tightly controlled so that the foot is placed exactly in
the right spot on the high wire. For the tightrope
walker, his or her full attention, heart, mind, and
strength – has to be constantly engaged in reaching the
other end of the wire. The tightrope walker cannot risk
to fall. We do fall from the grace of God by our
sinfulness’, but fortunately for us, God’s love is so
unconditional, that He forgives us in the same way. No
matter how often, or how many times, or in how many
different way that we sin, when we repent, He gathers us
back into the fold.
6th, of this year, not even two weeks from now,
making the decision to
love unconditionally will loom very large, possibly
larger than ever before in our lives, for we will be
asked to vote, not just for a candidate, but so much
more; on the very fiber and meaning of what that
commandment to love is all about. We are going to be asked
to cast a vote with a Christian conscience, for faith,
for family, marriage, and life . . . life that is
created from the moment of conception until it’s natural
death, by God. It’s not a matter of human law or human
discretion, as we are the created and not the Creator.
Yes my friends, given the privilege of being
co-creators, but that is the extent of our role,
concerning the process of creation, as gifted to us by
As Christians, each day brings us a new challenge in
deepening our awareness and our love for God and
neighbor. We are called to place God at the very center
of our lives, in our homes, in our workplaces, and in
our worship; to follow in the footsteps of the only man
who can lead us to our heavenly Father and eternity,
God’s only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Such an effort
and such a way of life encourages us to treat our
neighbor with respect, dignity, love, and to see those
whom God brings into our lives are being fully human,
sinful like us, but as Jesus called us all, “His
Friends.” Much unrest and persecution in the coming year
of 2013 of Christians, is sure to happen if we vote
against the morals and values given to us by our Lord, at least for
those of us who do not cave in to the moral decay that
this country is so sadly embraced by, and the test of
our love for God will not be an easy one. But that is
for another homily. However, given the history of the
last four years of a failed government which, by many
actions and also words, sought to diminish Christianity
in this country, from the top on down, in work places
and even in our public schools. We do have a clear
choice to change that course.
Wishing you all a great week ahead,
good health and blessings, and the love of our Love
continuing to grow and strengthen our convictions.
How do you keep from crying
as you watch over me each day,
Knowing that I will fail you,
... as you guide me on my way.
How do you keep on loving me
no matter what I’ve done,
You’ve never turned your back on me
is it because of your Son?
What is it that you see in me
that keeps you by my side,
Especially when my life is a mess,
and there’s so much that I try to hide.
Tell me does your heart ever break
when you see the things I do,
You still reach down and pick me up,
letting me know I belong to you.
I must confess I’ve never known,
a love like yours for me,
And its because of all you do
that has helped me to finally see.
I’m grateful that you never let me go,
and you were there each time I fell,
Giving me the chance to try again,
only you know me so well.
How do you keep from crying God,
I think I finally see,
You’re my Father, my God,
my everything, and you know what I can be.