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ARE WE MOTIVATED BY LOVE OF THE LORD?

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 2:1-11 & Luke 11:42-46

The Jews of Christ’s time, by their very attitude, had distanced themselves from the rest of society. Highly critical of others, especially of the Gentiles, they were quick to condemn what they saw as evil practices. Saint Paul bluntly told the Jews that even though they were the chosen people, they had no right to condemn the pagans. Why? It was because the Jews were, each in their own way, just as guilty of sin as were the non-believers.

Paul focused on Christ and the life that comes from Him knowing that only Jesus brought life and salvation: neither observance of the Law (as was the hope of the Jews) nor their adherence to a philosophy or way of life (as was the practice among the Gentiles) would bring them. Only belief in Jesus and commitment to Him would.

Jews and Gentiles alike will be judged not according to who they are, but by the lives they live based on faith in Jesus.

When Jesus condemned the Pharisees for tilling "mint and rue and every herb" and neglecting the weightier matters of the law which were "justice and the love of God" He was bringing a fundamental truth into focus. It is not obedience to the letter of the law, but the heart of the law that is most pleasing to God. How easy it can be to overlook this important distinction even today! How easy it is to do things out of habit instead of doing them for love of the Lord. But how little joy do we experience when our religious and moral observances flow from legalism or routine?

In their desire to do all the right things the Pharisees, whom Jesus was addressing, had turned their attention toward themselves and their observances. They sought to build up an image of righteousness before others - and before God - that was based on such small issues as whether they had given the right amount of the most insignificant herbs. All the time that they sought to demonstrate their obedience to laws and rituals, they were cutting themselves off from God and storing up judgement for themselves. Even worse, their example kept others from coming to know God personally.

The two greatest commandments show what God desires: to love Him with all of our being, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Both commands demonstrate God's heart and His plan for us. More than anything else, God wants us to have a living relationship with Him. As we draw near to Him and ask Him to imprint His character upon us, He will give us the wisdom to know how to obey Him.

God can move us and raise our hearts. We all yearn to love God and to know Him as our Father. Have you ever noticed how your heart burns when the Lord reveals to you something of Who He is? Let us open our lives to the Lord to take on the character of Jesus our Saviour.

Heavenly Father, help us to see the treasure of the Good News and to realise that by following Jesus, the Supreme Good News, we shall find salvation.

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