Shared Freedom and Other Centered Love – 30th Sunday Ordinary Time (A)

Shared Freedom and Other Centered Love – 30th Sunday Ordinary Time (A)

Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 98:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51; 1 Thessalonians 1:5C-10; Matthew 22:34-40

            In today’s Gospel passage a Pharisee asks Jesus “which is the great[est] commandment in the law?” Jesus answers by quoting from two Old Testament books. First, he quotes from Deuteronomy by saying the first and greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Deut. 6:5)” Then, Jesus quotes from Leviticus by saying the second greatest commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev. 19:18)”

         With these two commandments Jesus distills all Jewish moral laws in the Old Testament, above all the Ten Commandments, into two, positive commandments on love: love of God and love of neighbor.

         As Brant Pitre comments, the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ two greatest laws are not only numerically different, ten laws vs.  vs. two laws, but also differ in how law is presented. Eight of the Ten Commandments are negative commandment which command us not do something, such as not to take God’s name in vain and not to kill. In contrast, the two great commandments of Jesu are positive commandments since they command us what to do: love God and love neighbor.[1]

         Since we are commanded by Jesus to love God and love our neighbor this means that our freedom is to be understood, as Benedict XVI’s clearly teaches, as a “shared freedom”. [2] We share our freedom since we, he adds, “share existence”[3] with one another. We share existence with one another since we are social creatures. We want to live with others and in order to do so in peaceful, harmonious way we need to think of the other and the other’s needs. When I take into account another person’s needs, I necessarily begin to limit my freedom since I also want my brother to be free as well, and my brother in turn also limits his freedom since he wants me to be free. Freedom is intended by God to be shared since we are brothers and sisters of one another who all have one common Father, our Heavenly Father.

         The reason for defining freedom as a shared reality is that we are created in the image and likeness of a God who is community, who is shared love, who is shared freedom since God is triune. As St. Augustine teaches, the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father and the shared love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.

         Echoing this triune truth, Pope Francis recently taught in his Encyclical, All Brothers, the “ultimate source” of our shared freedom and shared love “is the very life of the triune God”. The Trinity is, our Holy Father teaches, “the origin and perfect model of all life in society.”[4]

         Today, may we ask for the grace to share our freedom, so that my brother also can experience communal freedom, shared freedom and in so doing we will be encouraging a civilization of love that is other centered and not only self-centered. Peace and Blessings – Father Peter

J.S. Bach, Siciliano

Common Media File, Public Domain, http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Communion_of_Saints_002.jpg.

Common Media File, Public Domain, https://pixnio.com/people/bride-groove-church-man-woman-priest-marriage-religion-christianity.

Common Media File, Public Domain, http://marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Holy_Family_002.jpg

Common Media File, Public Domain,

http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Nativity_017.jpg.

Common Media File, Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/photos/baptism-catholic-baby-religion-644267/.

Common Media File, Public Domain, https://www.aboutespanol.com/oraciones-de-poder-en-la-biblia-975657.

Philipp Schumacher, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Familio_(Schumacher,_Katholisches_Religionsb%C3%BCchlein)_002.jpg.

Common Media File, Public Domain, http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Sacrifice_of_Noah_after_the_Flood.jpg/

Common Media File, Public Domain, El Greco, https://collectionapi.metmuseum.org/api/collection/v1/iiif/641531/1395359/restricted

Creative Commons, El Greco – The Holy Family with Saint Anne, Flickr.

Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nazareth._Israel-05344_-_Painting_(33580695623).jpg.

Creative Commons, https://www.pxfuel.com/en/free-photo-xxgvl

Eugeniusz Kazimirowski (1873-1939), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazimirowski_Eugeniusz,_Divine_Mercy,_1934.jpg

Shared Freedom and Other Centered Love – 30th Sunday Ordinary Time (A)

Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 98:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51; 1 Thessalonians 1:5C-10; Matthew 22:34-40

I. Introduction

  1. Pharisee – Jesus “which is the great[est] commandment in the law?”
  2. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Deut. 6:5)”
  3. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev. 19:18)”
  4. Distills 10 -2
  5. Not Only Numerical Difference – How Many – How Law is Presented
  6. Primarily Negative – 8 vs. Completely Positive (Pitre)

II. Other Centered Love

  1. What/or Who we are Positively Directed to – not Self – Only Would Need 1 Commandment – Positively Directed to Others
  2. Other Centered Love – Means Freedom “shared” (Ben. XVI) – existence is shared
  3. Social Creatures – Take Others into Account – Limit My Freedom – Want them to be Free as Well
  4. Why – Trinity – Genesis 1:27 – Community – Family
  5. St. Augustine Father loves the Son …
  6. Pope Francis – All Brothers, the “ultimate source” of our shared freedom and shared love “is the very life of the triune God”. The Trinity is, our Holy Father teaches, “the origin and perfect model of all life in society.”[5]

III. Conclusion

         Today, may we ask for the grace to share our freedom, so that my brother also can experience communal freedom, shared freedom and in so doing we will be encouraging a civilization of love that is other centered and not only self-centered. 

Peace and Blessings – Father Peter


[1] Brant Pitre, “30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A),” catholicproductions.com. 

[2] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, trans. H. Taylor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 247-249.

[3] Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, trans. Adrian J. Walker (New York: Double Day, 2007), Kindle location 2957 of 5265.

[4] Francis, Fratelli Tutti, no. 85.

[5] Francis, Fratelli Tutti, no. 85.

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