30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When the Pharisees ask Jesus to rank the commandments and to decide which is the greatest, they reveal that their mentalities are limited and limiting. Jesus’ response embraces totality not limitation. And that totality is based on love- which defines all relationships — our relationships with God, our relationships with ourselves, and our relationships with each other.  Whereas commandments are to be observed as law and questions of obedience, these scriptures illustrate that love is the wellspring from which we derive the only manner in which we can all live, with ultimate freedom and lasting peace.
Exodus reveals the God of Love who heard and will always hear the cry of the poor, the alien, the immigrant, the orphan and the widow. It is clear that those who refuse to hear those cries or who make demands on the underprivileged, will not be free to live in gracious love. Instead, they will be condemned to live fruitless and empty lives where their happiness can never be found in their relationships, marriages, families or homes.
Paul’s words encourage this same message- that we are to become models for believers by turning away from the false idols that can distract us from the road of discipleship- the pathways of love.

First Reading

(Exodus 22: 20-26)
Thus says the LORD:
“You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. 
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 sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
“If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people,
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 his body. 
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”

Responsorial Psalm  

(Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51)
R.  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.

Second Reading

(I Thessalonians 1: 5c-10)
Brothers and sisters:
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. 
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.


(Matthew 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 commandments.”

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