Radical Love

Sunday, October 25th 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

On this 30th Sunday in Ordinary time, this weekend’s readings are all about the radical love of God for His people and the radical love we are called to live out in response. As Catholic Christians, this is nothing more and nothing less than the practical application of loving God and neighbor in practical and concrete ways in our daily lives.

Jesus summed up the message of all the prophets, as well as the purpose of all God’s laws in today’s Gospel passage from Matthew. It is a message we have likely grown up hearing — but it is so beautiful and so challenging, it bears repeating again and again. It is Christ’s response to a question about which commandment is greatest. His answer reveals both the greatest and the second greatest commandments.

He referred to the Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Jesus then quotes another passage and relates it to the first passage he quotes: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

How is the second like the first? What do the two commandments have in common? Love.

Love God first and love neighbor as self. This is the heart of the life we live as committed disciples of Jesus Christ and as Catholic Christians; it is simple enough for even a child to understand, and challenging enough to be the life’s endeavor of every “grown-up.”

I leave on Monday, October 26th for Portland, Oregon, where I will be making my annual priest retreat at Mount Angel Abbey. The Guest House has recently been renovated, and I am anxious to see the changes. I will remember you in my prayers while on retreat.