CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR THE 31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS
BY: Fr. Francis Onwunali
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today” (Deut 2: 5-6) This prayer meant to be on the lips of all Jewish people summarizes the message of this Thirty-first Sunday in the Ordinary Time Year B.
In the first reading (Deut 6: 1-6), as Moses was coming to the end of his life, he made a call to the people of Israel to “hear, take heed, commit to memory, and act upon” – the importance of God being the One and Only and respond appropriately by loving God with all one’s being (Bob Kondrath).
In the gospel (Mark 12: 28-34), Jesus, in response to the question of the religious leader on the greatest of the commandments, reiterated the importance of the Shema – “Hear, O Israel!”, the love of God. He went further to indicate that together with the love of others will grant entrance into the reign of God.
Dear friends, to “hear” the word of God entails “understanding” it, which implies “acting” upon the content of the word. Love is properly understood when one experiences being loved by another. Since God first loved us, our experience of God’s love is to propel us into loving not only God but both others and ourselves. Do you have any reservation in your love for God, others and yourself?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will learn to recommit our whole being to the love of God. May we constantly reflect on how God is touching our lives especially through the ministry and priesthood of Jesus Christ (Heb 7: 23-28), so that we can understand the way to respond in love to God, others and to ourselves. In hearing with the ears of our heart and understanding with the openness of our minds, may we proclaim with the Psalmist: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Ps 17: 2).
Have a Happy and love-full Sunday!
Fr. Francis Onwunali