Ru 1:1, 3-6, 14b-16, 22 and Mt 22:34-40
by Sister Kathleen Murphy
The scripture readings on Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time are full of love, love for God and love for neighbor.
Naomi returned with her Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, to Bethlehem.
We responded with the words, “Praise the Lord, my soul!” followed by Psalm 146, which gave us reasons for our praise.
In the Gospel, a scholar of the law tried to test Jesus by asking Him which commandment in the law is the greatest. We all know the answer that Jesus gave, as we have heard it throughout our lifetimes and have passed it on to the many children we have taught over the years. Moreover, we have tried to live this commandment of God throughout our lives. We have tried to love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds.
To speak about it today is like preaching to the choir. We have responded to God’s love for us by following the vocation we have been called. For some of us, that has been through marriage and motherhood. For Religious Sisters, it is through consecrated religious life.
The second commandment, which Jesus says is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” may be a bit more difficult. It implies that we need to love ourselves, to accept that God loves us as a mother loves the child at her breast.
We are all beloved by God, who created each and every one of us and said that we are very good! We may, at times, need to remind ourselves of our own innate goodness. We may need to be more attentive to God’s love for us. We may need to sit quietly periodically and breathe in God’s love for us and breathe out our response to God’s love.
When we are aware of God’s love for us through our experiences of that love, we accept that we are lovable and can love our neighbors as ourselves.
God is love. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are lovable, and so are our neighbors!
We can live the Gospel and these commandments contained within it.
We do so by responding to God’s love for us by loving the Lord, our God, with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our minds, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
May God be praised!