30th Sunday   Oct 29, 2017

Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

                  In Matthew’s Gospel we are near the end of Jesus’ public ministry – indeed His earthly life.  His opponents have been trying for some time to entrap Jesus.   When the doctor of the law asks Jesus about the greatest commandment, the questioner is wading into a long-standing and hotly contested rabbinical dispute.  Obviously the Pharisee is hoping to trap Jesus on an issue so that his enemies can call His teaching into question. 

                  Jesus gives an answer that is tough to argue with:  “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” The verse from Dt 6:5 is part of the “Shema,” which observant Jews recite twice daily to remind themselves of the heart of their faith.  But then Jesus sneaks in a second commandment, saying it is “like” the first:  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This statement is taken from Lev 19:18.  By using God’s own words, Jesus offered His opponents little to argue with. 

Jesus is calling us to a special type of love.   Most of us love in a way in which we share with one another and are faithful to one another.   And most of us have moments in our lives in which we go out of our way to please or to surprise those we love. Many of us have moments in our lives when we love in a way that makes non-loving people think we are mad.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encourages us to love as He did, not in a minimal way, but in a perfect way: with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.  It is this kind of love that is capable of transforming not only those we love but also ourselves and the world we live in. 

This coming week we have a number of special celebrations. I know certain younger people are really excited about Halloween.   Actually, I know an awful lot of “not so young” people who get excited about the holiday.   Remember its origins! All Hallows Eve is the Vigil for the Feast of All Saints!  It might be a good time to research the lives of our Patron Saint or at least to develop an understanding of the virtues that made them saints.  Throughout the year the Church commemorates particular Saints but obviously there are so many that there is not enough room on the calendar for all of them. ON the Feast of All Saints we commemorate all of them All Saints and All Souls kind of run together.   On All Souls we commemorate our beloved dead and pray that like the Saints, they stand in the Glory of God.   May they rest in Peace!

As you read this bulletin I should be in a village near the Swiss border near Karlsruhe, Germany.   Pray for me as I will be praying for you.  May God bless preserve and keep you!  

Fr. Ron