Friday, August 21, 2015

"This is... the first commandment. The second is like it" Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 22:34-40.

Book of Ruth 1:1.3-6.14b-16.22. 

Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah departed with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab.
Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons,
who married Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years,
both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband.
She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab because word reached her there that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.
Again they sobbed aloud and wept; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.
"See now!" she said, "your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-in-law!"
But Ruth said, "Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Thus it was that Naomi returned with the Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Psalms 146(145):5-6.7.8-9a.9bc-10. 

Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.

Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint 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."

"This is... the first commandment. The second is like it"

Since we are directed to love our neighbor as ourselves, let us consider whether we have received from the Lord the power to fulfill this commandment also… Nothing, indeed, is so compatible with our nature as living in society and in dependence upon one another and as loving our own kind. Now, the Lord himself gave to us the seeds of these qualities in anticipation of his requiring in due time their fruits, for he says: “A new commandment I give to you: that you love one another” (Jn 13, 34).

Moreover, wishing to animate our soul to the observance this commandment, he did not require signs or wonders the means of recognizing his disciples (although He gave power of working these also in the Holy Spirit), but he says: “By this shall everyone know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (Jn 13,35).  Further, he establishes so close a connection between the two great commandments that benefits conferred upon the neighbor are transferred to himself: “For I was hungry,” he says, “and you gave me to eat” and so on, adding: “as long as you did it to one of these the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25,35-40).

It is, accordingly, possible to keep the second commandment by observing the first, and by means of the second we are led back to the first. Whoever loves the Lord loves their neighbor in consequence. “If anyone love me,” said the Lord, “he will keep my commandments; this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 14,23; 15,12).  On the other hand, whoever loves a neighbor fulfills the love owed to God, for God accepts this favor as shown to himself.

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