One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

+ + +

The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

August 21, 2009

For Friday of the Twentieth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 22:34-40

Today’s Gospel bothers to tell us “the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees.”
The Sadducees were doctrinal enemies of the Pharisees.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the doctrine of their enemies, the Pharisees got together themselves to test the doctrine of Jesus.
It seems the Pharisees did not want only to defeat Jesus, but also to show themselves better than the Sadducees.
The Pharisee question was not hard.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
Jesus did not give a surprising answer.
Surprises came as he went on straightaway to give a bigger answer than the question needed, a bigger answer that left the Pharisees no room for more questions.
To love the Lord, your God, with all your being is the greatest commandment, but Jesus added the detail that it is the first commandment.
Then he added there is a second greatest commandment, that is, to love your neighbor as yourself.
These two commandments sum up the Ten Commandments.
However, Jesus went still further, and said the “WHOLE law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Now, he has doctrinally topped, defeated, and silenced both the Sadducees and their doctrinal enemies the Pharisees.
He has named the first and second greatest commandments.
However, he has also shown that these two commandments carry the WHOLE law of God and the WHOLE “Word of the Lord” that came through the prophets of the Lord God.
The answer of Jesus contained the WHOLE Word of the Lord.
For the Pharisees to question further would have been to call into question the WHOLE Word of the Lord.
The WHOLE Word of the Lord— the Gospel tells us the Word was God, and became flesh.
Jesus is the God the Word, but now he is also Man.
Forever without beginning or end he is the Word that is God, but now he is also the Word that is man made WHOLE.
So, the first and second greatest commandments that he names about love of God and love of neighbor are commandments that tell us about Jesus himself.
First, he loves the Lord— God his Father— with all his being.
Second, he loves us, his neighbors, as he loves himself.
Here in his Eucharistic Body and Blood, Christ hands over his whole being— heart, soul, mind, and body— to his Father.
That is the first and greatest thing that is true about the Body and Blood of Christ: they belong to the Father first of all.
Secondly, the Eucharistic Gift that belongs to the Father is shared with us, the earthly neighbors of Christ, thus bringing us into communion with the Father.
To step forward to take this Gift is to volunteer to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger PlainCatholic said...

Your meditations on the readings are a true joy and source of edification. Thank you and may God bless you all.

8:25 AM  

Dear Father Stephanos,

I am amazed how much thought you put into every one of your sermons. This latest shows great scriputual knowledge and wisdom. The effect on the listener (or reader) is profound. Some inspired individual should collect your sermons and publish them. Your intellect and faith are inspriational. Beware, however, that this praise does not tempt you to pride! I know it will not.


6:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home