August 21, 2020 (Friday of Week 20 Year II: St Pius X)
The Great Commandment...love
Dear friends in Christ, there are laws and rules regulating everything in the world today. From religion to trade; national life to personal and private living, the rules are there to help safeguard each one's right and also layout the duties. Today we celebrate the memorial of St Pius X, Pope. He sought to “restore all things in Christ.” He was born into a very poor family and when he became Pope, he insisted on the separation of Church and State. He lived in great poverty even as Pope. He worked miracles in his simplicity of heart even while alive and died in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War which broke his heart.
Our first reading today (Ezekiel 37:1-14) is a vision on the extent to which God is willing to go with the people of Ezekiel's time. Ezekiel in a vision was a brought to the valley full of dry bones and asked if it is possible for these bones to live. When he answered that only God knows, he was asked to, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones. Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live...and will cause flesh to come upon you...and put breath in you...and you shall know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel did as he was commanded and the dry bones received flesh and breath, they make a large host. God told Ezekiel, these represent the house of Israel. God made a promise to the prophet that he will raise his people from their present condition in which they refer to themselves as dead and dry bones. The mercy and compassion of God is beyond our understanding. He continues in his love for us all through life and all he demands is that we also show forth that love.
The Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40) concerns the commandments. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" At this time, the teachers of the law had made a collection of a total of 613 laws and each of them taken from the words of Moses--365 of the laws were prohibitions, things that Jews must not do; while 248 were positive commands, what Jews have to do. This question was obviously meant to trap Jesus, His response was, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself." It is obvious that without love, none of the other commandments is fulfilled. Love is that which moved God to send his Son into the world to redeem it, just as it was in love he created us all. God is love and he who abides in love abides in God. Beyond even a particular religion, one without love is empty. The greatest need of the world today is love beginning from our homes. In homes where people do not share their love, you find so much hatred and problems. In a society where people are greedy and selfish, they will do anything for personal gains, even at the expense of the society and their neighbours. We live in a very religious society, but how I wish that our religiosity would translate into love for one another. Love of God without the love of neighbour takes no one anywhere, for if you cannot love the neighbour whom you see, it is impossible to love God whom you cannot see.
Let us pray: Renew your love is us O Lord. Bind our homes in your love and give us the grace to love others the way you love us. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.