Sunday Breakfast with the Word 30th Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year A
The Role Model to Love.
A model stands as an ideal representation of something. So, a role model is one whose life stands as the ideal of the type of life we want to live. In essence, his life inspires and influences the way we live. He is somebody whose life and behaviour stand as something one can emulate.
Many today have different role models ranging from actors, artists, public figures etc, whose type of life influences the way they dress, talk and think. We chose our topic today from the second reading of today.
In the second reading, Paul thanks the Thessalonians for taking the Lord as their role model after the word of God came to them with great power and might and after observing the type of life they lived among them. By doing this they also influenced the nations who are surrounding them.
In today’s gospel, Jesus affirms that to love God and our neighbour is the greatest commandment.
The life of Jesus is full of love, mercy, healing and compassion. To take Him as a model is to live in deep communion with God, to love our neighbour, to remove any form of oppression and to accept all as one.
Therefore, easiest way to keep the commandments is to take the Lord as the role model to love as Saint Paul says in the second reading.
Take the Lord as the Role Model in word, thoughts and deeds and you will certainly live in love” says Mother Theresa. The above statement certainly summarises all the readings of today.
The Greatest Commandment.
In the gospel, after the Pharisees heard how Jesus responded to the Sadducees on the question about resurrection in the previous verses of today’s chapter of the gospel. They teamed up like that of last Sunday (the Pharisees and the Herodians) to put Jesus to the test.
One of them asks Jesus to reveal the greatest commandment among all the commandments. Jesus answers that the first and the greatest is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind.
The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbour just as we also love ourselves. For Jesus, every other law is encircled around these two.
Here are the key points:
1.The Pharisees and the Sadducees are two groups of people who are divided in their beliefs. But today they unite themselves to achieve one common purpose; only to test and pull Jesus down.
The point here is that as Jesus tries to unite people and bring them to God, these groups of people unite to render His efforts useless.
The point here is, it is either we unite to promote the good things of another person or we belong to the camp of those who hate whatever the other person does. Sometimes we unite only to plan evil against the other person. We see this in our families, organisations, associations, offices etc.
To take the Lord as our role model is to support the good of the other person rather than planning evil against him/her.
2. The group today chooses one person among them who must be so versed in the law of Moses. He began with their usual style “master”. This is like affirming Jesus’ authority and knowledge of the laws so that any mistake from Jesus will be a point of mockery of who He is.
Sometimes we come to people with this style. We flatter them and sing their praises to get what we want. It is good to live a straightforward life like the Lord. Let us free our hearts from contempt and do things only from the depth and purity of our hearts.
3.The Pharisees do not come to listen to the word. Their interest is only in the “pull Him down” mentality. This is unlike in the second reading where Paul appreciates the Thessalonians for listening to the word, which ultimately influenced them positively.
The word of God should be our guide if we truly want to change our lives. We should be ready to learn from the word of God on how to live in love and encourage one another rather than make an effort to bring others down.
4.To capture the real secret behind this question, we have to note the background. The Jewish commandment is beyond the ten commandments. It is noted that the commandments from Genesis to Deuteronomy are about 613 commandments.
This particular question was being debated among the religious leaders at that time and many commandments were presented as the first and the greatest. So any straightforward answer from Jesus will certainly split more arguments.
Jesus quickly gives them a summary of the whole commandments. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 4:5, which is part of the Shema, which the Jews even recite as prayers.
He further concludes His answer with Leviticus 19:18. The answer kept his interlocutors dumbfounded because He transcends beyond their expectations.
We have to take the Lord as a role model in dealing with issues and problems from people. In most situations, we do not need to act rashly but to deal with everything with wisdom, tolerance and understanding.
Never Oppress the Oppressed.
When Jesus emphasizes the need to love one another as we love ourselves, the first reading captures the whole point.
1.The first reading from the book of Exodus is part of the injunctions or interpretations that flow from the decalogue in Exodus 20.
Here, God warns them not to oppress or molest foreigners because they were once foreigners in Egypt. So, being in that state before, they know and understand the pain of treating a foreigner badly.
Therefore, God emphasizes the importance of treating foreigners with love, respect and fairness, reminding the Israelites of their past as immigrants in Egypt.
God wants us to treat strangers as we treat ourselves.
We remember in Matthew 25:35 When Jesus talking was about those who did the will of the Father, He says For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. He reminded us how important it is to treat others well, especially the strangers.
We also remember that in Hebrews 13:2, God says Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
In Leviticus 19:33-34“ God also says “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. Therefore we have to welcome one another as Jesus Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7 ). So, Let us learn to treat others very well.
2.Loving one another as the Lord does also involves the Protection of the vulnerable. These are the poor, the orphans, the marginalized, the widow and the fatherless which are specifically highlighted in the first reading.
This indicates the need to provide support and prevent exploitation done on them. We do not treat them badly because they do not have anyone to speak for them, rather part of our Christian calling is to shield and protect them.
The Lord As The Role Model to Love.
In the second reading, Saint Paul appraised the faith of the Thessalonians for their efforts in returning to the Lord, leaving idolatry and taking the Lord as their model.
Paul says that they observed the sort of life Paul lived when he was with them, which truly inspired them to become a changed people and further take the lord as their model.
This has made them a great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Therefore, this emphasises that the easiest to have a change of life is to take the Lord as our model.
When we do this our lives change. Like the Thessalonians became a light to others, we shall become a light to others, a source of inspiration and change to the poor.
In the first reading, God is portrayed as the defender of the oppressed, ready to respond to the cries of those who are mistreated and hold the wrongdoers accountable.
God’s compassion is emphasized, urging the Israelites to reflect that compassion in their dealings with their neighbours. In essence, we have to be defenders of the oppressed, and also ever ready to respond to the cries of those who are marginalised and mistreated.
We have to love as the Lord does. We do not treat others with wickedness. Whenever it comes to our dealings with others, love must be the guiding principle.
Let us always take the Lord as Our model.
Treat Others Right.
1.Therefore, as God welcomes us, we are called to treat foreigners and immigrants with dignity and respect, recognizing their humanity and equal worth. We do not treat our fellow human beings as if they are nothing.
2.In the first reading, God shows huge concern for the marginalised. Just as God showed concern for widows and orphans, we are called to protect and support those who are marginalised and vulnerable in society.
3.We should lend to those in need without seeking excessive interest or exploiting their circumstances.
Therefore, we should not use the needs of the poor to manipulate and achieve our selfish desires. We have to sincerely help others and not out of evil intentions.
4.In the same vein, every position we occupy today was not given to us from birth. We were once nobody and thereby it is not an avenue to treat others badly. Always remember there was a time when you were once like them. We have to treat others right.
5.The people today are already oppressed by hunger and hardship. When we oppress them more, we increase their sorrows. Always remember it is God that we oppress.
When Paul was persecuting the Christians, Jesus asked him “Saul Saul why are you persecuting me”. Jesus did not ask Saul why are you persecuting them. (Acts 9:4). Jesus is always defending the oppressed and so we shall be.
6.That poor girl coming to you for help, that poor boy, family, or friend coming to you for help, beware of exploiting them, for their cries reach the ears of the Almighty.
As the first reading says, they are sacred beings deserving of compassion and protection. Be their shield, not their oppressor, for their voices shall be heard, and divine justice shall prevail. This is the way to love as the Lord loves. This is the true love of neighbour, hence, this is in keeping with the greatest commandment.
When Jesus says, Love the neighbour as yourself, Jesus is also emphasising that wickedness should not be found among us. We have to eschew greediness, wickedness, bitterness, jealousy, envy etc.
1.Let us banish that greed that is poisoning our hearts. When lending to the needy among you, let it be an act of mercy, not a business deal. Let us always extend a helping hand without expecting anything in return.
Return whatever you have taken unjustly from your neighbour, for their loss shall not go unnoticed. Their cry for justice shall be heard, echoing in the halls of righteousness.
We have to show compassion to the plight of others, by doing this we reflect the boundless mercy of God. Rid your heart of every form of wickedness, for it leads only to pain and suffering.
Choose the path of righteousness, where compassion, fairness, and love reign supreme. Become a beacon of light in a world drowning in darkness, for the battle against wickedness begins within each one of us. Let love conquer all. We have to let love lead.
2.When you look at what is happening in the country today, you begin to question where the conscience of our leaders travelled. You begin to question why people who are meant to protect lives, turn back to kill, maim and impoverish souls handed unto their care.
Always remember there was a time you were in their position. That suffering you passed through then, is what they are passing through. Use your position to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
If we take the Lord as our model we will certainly live for the people. Jesus is always defending the oppressed.
When leaders pack foods which are meant to feed the people during the pandemic to the detriment of the livelihood of the people is the highest act of wickedness.
Quit oppressing the people, quit these acts of wickedness. They are already oppressed by poverty, hardship, insecurity and economic instability.
1.We have to give God all we have. Our thoughts, deeds and words must be Godly. This Jesus sees as the summary of every commandment.
When we look at the life of Jesus we will certainly see the close relationship He has with the Father. He humbles himself to do only the will of God.
In the same vein, we have to take the Lord as our model and give God our all in all. When we do this, we cannot but love rather than live in hatred. Anyone who does not love, is not from God, for God is love (1 John 4:8). This will help us to understand the plight of the people.
2.The leaders should take the Lord as their model in living to save and ameliorate the sufferings of the masses.
The only standard to love the other person is the way we love ourselves. Imagine a nation where the leaders see themselves in the shoes of the suffering. Can you imagine a family where everyone loves each other? If we take the Lord as our model, there will be peace and progress.
3.In the first reading, God warns people never to treat widows and orphans unacceptably. Their pains and cries will certainly reach Him.
When we oppress the poor, the needy, and the people we are better off, do not think God is there clapping for us. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers. That you do unto me”.
So, you are also fighting God. Let us be careful in treating people badly. Everything we do today will always be there to stand for or against us on the last day.
This is also a call to all who are going about looting and stealing other people’s properties. You are increasing their pains more. The reward is certainly waiting for you. Let us desist from such evil acts.
4.We have to be wary of the plight of others. The Role model to serve the people is Jesus. A leader must be ready to serve and not exploit them. Therefore, to those who abuse their power, manipulate, and deceive, remember this: true leadership is not found in wickedness but in integrity.
The world yearns for leaders who uplift, inspire, and create positive change, not those who exploit and oppress. Your actions may go unnoticed by some, but the impact of your choices will not be erased.
4b. To those consumed by envy and deceitfulness, understand that your happiness and fulfilment cannot come at the expense of others. Take Jesus as the role model. We do not measure Real success by material possessions or social status, but by the love and kindness you sow.
5.What God wants from us is a sincere love for others and not pretence. Quit pretending that you love someone while deep in your heart, you do not. Those who plot evil while wearing masks of innocence know that the truth has a way of revealing itself.
Authenticity and transparency are the cornerstones of true Christianity. The darkness you hide behind will never overshadow the light that prevails. Choose instead to embrace honesty, compassion, and empathy.
6.Let us also remove the evil of envy. Quit being unhappy when others succeed or when others give testimonies. Quit being sad when you see the achievements of other people. Rather, congratulate them and learn from them. You can build with them.
Since, the person has seen the light, he or she can now show you the way. It is better than envy and jealousy. Embrace humility and celebrate the successes of others; it is in fostering unity and collaboration that we truly thrive. When we take the Lord as our model to Love, everything about us will start to change.
7.Finally, just like the Thessalonians in the second reading become role models and exemplars of the gospel to Macedonia and Achaia which later spread to other parts of the world, let us live lives worthy of emulation. Let us always live in love.
We can do this if we can take the Lord as our Role Model, live like Him, allow Him to influence our lives and thus live only in the love of one another. Things are truly going to change.
May God bless us as we live by His principles. Happy Sunday.