Points to Ponder

Weekly thoughts on the Sunday Gospel, readings or a topic...

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seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Matthew 22:34-40
1. You may feel some sympathy with the Jews struggling to cope with 613 laws and wondering which were the important ones. But have you ever felt overwhelmed by the rules and regulations of your own tradition? And have you ever been blessed by meeting someone, or reading something, that was able to cut through all the layers and point out to you what is essential in life? Who was that person? What did they say or do? Is there some phrase or text that encapsulates such wisdom for you?
2. If you were asked what is most important in life, what would your answer be? Recall the experiences and relationships you have had. Which are the ones that you treasure most? What has particularly enriched your life? How would you encourage another person who asked you how they could live a full life?  – John Byrne, OSA

The Deep End
The Pharisees continue their harassment of Jesus in today’s Gospel by asking him which commandment is the greatest. What follows is the most famous verses of the New Testament: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul ... And ... You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ We probably can’t hear this enough. Love is the greatest commandment and this is a radical statement. Because this love is agape love, i.e. a love of those we don’t even know or even like! It is a love that binds all of humanity.
We cannot separate love of God and neighbour; they are like two sides of a coin; they only work together. If we do not treat others with compassion, then how can we say we love God? Jesus often spoke about approaching the altar whilst holding a grudge against someone (Mt 5:24) and continuously challenged those who were hypocrites. Those critical of social justice movements in the church often say we should not be involved in doing ‘social work’. But this is exactly what we must do because this is how we love God, by loving our neighbour who is suffering, who is oppressed, who is in pain. We can love God and love people, there does not have to be a dichotomy.
There is a beautiful practice in India of using the mystical phrase ‘Namaste’ in greetings, which means: ‘the Divine in me greets the Divine in you’. Usually this is accompanied by a deep bow towards the person. How wonderful it would be to really see God present in each other and, more importantly, in those that society would rather cast aside. In this way we are being true to the greatest commandment.
‘May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.’ (St Teresa of Avila) 
– Jane Mellett

(from Intercom)

 

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Today’s Mass Readings .
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Dear Guardian Angel, go for me to the church, there kneel down at Mass for me. At the Offertory, take me to God and offer Him my service: What I am, what I have, offer as my gift. At the Consecration, with your seraphic strength, adore my Saviour truly present, praying for those who have loved me, for those who have offended me, and for those now deceased, that the blood of Jesus may purify them all. During Holy Communion bring me the Body and Blood of Jesus uniting Him with me in spirit, so that my heart may become His dwelling place. Plead with Him, that through His sacrifice all people throughout the world may be saved. When the Mass ends, bring home to me and to every home, the Lord’s blessing. Amen.
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