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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate. (Exodus 22:26)
Do you have children? If so, you’ve probably thought about what you would do if one of them fell on hard times. Maybe you’ve found yourself in this position already! You’d do everything you could to help, wouldn’t you? Even if the hardship is your child’s own doing, you would still want to bend over backwards to help out.
That’s the message behind today’s first reading and Gospel reading. They both tell us that every human being is a member of God’s family. We are all beloved of our Father, and we are all brothers and sisters to each other. It doesn’t matter whether we are well behaved or “black sheep” of his family. He loves us deeply and longs to care for us, simply because we are his. This is why he has a special love for the poor. It breaks his heart to see these children of his go without the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.
Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our hearts and to love one another as ourselves. These are very challenging commands, precisely because they are so encompassing. He didn’t say, “Love God when it’s convenient” or “Love only the people who agree with you.” No, we are all one family: rich or poor, old or young, educated or illiterate, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or atheist. Whoever we are, whatever we did or didn’t do, even whether or not we believe in God, everyone deserves to be treated with equal dignity. Everyone deserves to be cared for and lifted up out of any poverty that holds them bound.
Jesus didn’t discriminate in his offer of healing and restoration. Like the farmer who sowed his seeds on all types of soil, he wants us to do the same.
“Jesus, I praise you for your generosity. Give me the same concern for the poor and needy around me. Lord, help me to open my heart and my hands to them!”
Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40
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