THE GREATEST COMMAND
30th Week in Ordinary Time
RCIA Session, November 2
Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4,47, 51
1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
"You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt." -cf. Exodus 22:20-26
"Teacher, what commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your should, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." -cf. Matthew 22:34-40
"Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we are called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." -cf. 1 John 3:1-3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit..." -cf. Matthew 5:1-12a
ANNOUNCEMENTS: DISCERNMENT, ALL SAINTS, GREATEST COMMANDMENTS
- Wednesday, November 1 is the a Solemnity of All Saints and a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses at St. Monica are 6:30 am, 8:00 am, 12:00 noon, 6:00 pm, and 7:30 pm.
- This week begins a time of Discernment, an opportunity for all Inquirers and their families to reflect on their relationship with Jesus and with the Catholic Church at this time in RCIA - and to discern whether or not they are truly "ready" to make a public commitment to Jesus in the Rite of Acceptance/Welcome. Most of the class this week will focus on conversion and readiness for the first major Rite of the RCIA.
- All RCIA groups meet for the usual schedule .
PRACTICE THE FAITH: PILGRIMS ON EARTH
- Don't forget the "Fr. Todd/Fr. Kyle Challenge" to pray 15 minutes a day. Anyone who prays 15 minutes every day and then comes to Mass on November 1, at 6:00 pm or 7:30 pm, dressed as a saint, will be rewarded with a small prize and an opportunity to be in a "photo shoot" of Saints!
- This week spend time reflecting on the idea that we, the baptized, are simply "pilgrims on earth" - that our only true home lies beyond this world and is eternal. How do you feel about this very unique belief? How do you live it?
- This week, notice persons who are forced to leave their homeland, who are refugees because of war, persecution, or dire poverty. What will become of them? How are they treated? What do we have to learn from them? Will you welcome them into our land? Will you ask others to welcome them, to give them a home?
CONNECTIONS: The Greatest Commandment is LOVE
In Sunday's Gospel Jesus tells the scholar of the law that underneath all 613 of the Jewish Laws are two simple commandments: LOVE GOD with all yourself - heart, soul, mind - and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself.
In the first reading from Sunday, God tells his People not to molest or oppress the stranger, the foreigner - reminding the Holy People that they were once strangers in a foreign land. On the Feast of All Saints, John takes this even further in his letter - reminding us that the we are God's Children, not a People who the world understands or welcomes, but strangers in a foreign land, even now. The Gospel for All Saints pushes us beyond the Ten Commandments into the world of Jesus and the Saints, a world of the Beatitudes.
A recent and beautiful expression of our Christian Faith and Hope is Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical, "God is Love." This first Encyclical Letter by Pope Benedict came as a shock to many people. They might have expected some harsh teaching from their new Pope, but the message the Pope wanted to share is that GOD IS LOVE. The very essence of God is love: God is a communion of love. We are invited into that Communion for all eternity. God made us, each of us was called into existence so that we can be loved by God and love God in return - loving also, all other persons as God loves each of us. This love is a deep and sacrificial love which brings us JOY greater than any we could imagine or event for ourselves.
All the saints teach us what this love looks like, their lives are a mirror of Jesus and of living the Father's will, loved by God, loving God and neighbor. This LOVE is never easy and never old fashioned - the need for love increases every day and God asks us to bring love this world as our one greatest vocation.
How will you respond?
"Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world - this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical." -Pope Benedict XVI, "God is Love"