Core Teaching of Christianity

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Franlou Bardon, SVD (USC, Cebu City)

Friday 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Photo source: wikimedia commons / Tanzanian children face impression by Rasheedhrasheed

            Once, an elegant lady approached me after I celebrated the Holy Mass, and she thanked me for a straightforward reflection on the readings of the day. I told her that making us understand the gospel is a work of the Holy Spirit. At the back of my mind, I was wondering whether my sermon was material for quality assessment or a source of encouragement for her to live a holy life. Recalling such experience, I am led now to ask this question: when do we really begin to trust Jesus as our Savior?

            The basis of our faith in Jesus may vary from one person to another. Others will only trust Jesus when they can clearly understand his teachings. They appeal to the reasonability of faith and even demand from preachers clarity to the instruction they are giving. However, our faith is quite paradoxical. Though it is reasonable, our attempt to fully comprehend it is encumbered by our limited mind. Still, we have to be clarified of the very essence of our faith, so we will not get lost when we are struggling to grapple with its mysterious side.

  Jesus, in today’s gospel, knows how to sum up the teachings of Judaism from which the Christian faith has branched out. Such abstraction has now become the core teaching of Christianity: love of God and love of neighbor. This brilliant reply of Jesus to those who wanted to test Him somehow becomes a source of hope when we are struggling to obey all God’s commandments. What is only needed after all is love. When love is absent in us, hardly can we become obedient children of the Father.

            Let us be inspired then by Ruth’s going beyond the demands of the law according to the first reading today (Year 2). Most importantly, let us be one with Jesus who has shown us who are our neighbors to be loved – the last, the least, the lost and the lonely – so we can authentically love God. 

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