Jesus embodies the truth that good deeds are love and not good words and reasons. Do we really live up to this truth?
We are often encouraged to love God (SV.EN XI:32). “But let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows.” That is to say, love is not so much about noble feelings and sweet words as about good behavior and deeds.
Of course, such an encouragement has its roots in the teaching and example of Jesus. He has come to fulfill the law and the prophets. And so, he keeps the commandments. But he also does not fail to highlight the weightier things of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. Besides, he points out rightly that the two-fold commandment of love of God and neighbor sums up the whole law.
The neighbor leaves us no choice but to make our love more than just theory. The nearest to us, yes, calls us to do deeds of love and so make concrete our worship and love of God. We are called, then, to do as Jesus. His two great traits are reverence to the Father and charity to others (SV.EN VI:413).
The Anointed and Sent One of God show these traits as he goes about doing deeds of mercy. Yes, he goes around to teach, proclaim the Good News, and to cure diseases and illnesses among the people. He welcomes all, especially those whom religion has forgotten and society has left behind. His love does not discriminate; he seeks the good of all, of the good and the bad.
Faith works through love (Gal 5, 6); faith that has no deeds is dead (Jas 2,17).
We who claim to be Christians go through test, too. Do we speak and work for the rights of immigrants? When we say, “I do not know and I do not care,” do we not consent to the abuses in ICE detention centers?
And do we admit, by our deeds, that we cannot love God and at the same time hate a brother or a sister? Is it true that our love does not keep count of wrongs, but bears, believes, hopes and cope with all things? Like St. Francis of Assisi’s love, does ours know no borders (Fratelli tutti 3-4)? Do we really grasp that to leave God for God (SV.EN IX:252) means to love our neighbor is to love God?
Would to God that we pass the test.
Lord Jesus, you loved us to the end and so finished it all. Teach us what is our part to give witness to you by our deeds. Grant also to us who hold your Supper to imitate you and do also as you have done for us.
25 October 2020
30th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Ex 20,20-26; 1 Thes 1, 5c-10; Mt 22, 34-40