30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 22:34-40
Jesus distills the essence of the whole Law and Prophets – love of God and love of neighbor – by quoting verses from two different books of the Old Testament.
As Benedict XVI has commented,
The pious Jew prayed daily the words of the Book of Deuteronomy which expressed the heart of his existence: ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might’ (6:4-5).
Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and the commandment of love for neighbor found in the Book of Leviticus: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (19:18).
—Deus Caritas Est, 1.
Jesus thereby emphasizes that these two elements of love of God and neighbor are closely intertwined: “One cannot adore God without loving all men, His creatures. One cannot honor another person without blessing God his creator” (Catechism paragraph 2069).
By citing the Scriptures in this way, Jesus affirms that “the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation” (129).
Because the God-given Law served as a teacher “to lead His people towards Christ” (708), the Church has constantly proclaimed the unity of the Old and New Testaments (128).
“The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are the true Word of God” (140). That is why the Church “has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant” in our Mass, such as “reading the Old Testament” and “praying the Psalms” (1093).
Question for reflection: How does my daily life reflect love of God and neighbor?