The last weekend of Respect Life Month, we are praying for victims of Domestic violence and human trafficking. We are invited to love one another, be the sight for those who have no sight. The violence against another person is a failure to treat that person as someone worthy of love. The violence within the sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises. An article from United States Bishop says, “We focus here on violence against women since 85 percent of the victims of reported cases of non-lethal domestic violence are women. Women's greatest risk of violence comes from intimate partners—a current or former husband or boyfriend.”
Today human trafficking is a new form of slavery. United Bishop’s Conference says, “Human trafficking violates the sanctity, dignity, and fundamental rights of the human person.” They state that every nation is affected by this disease—the United States is no exception. We all are called to love God and love one another. It is the essence of our discipleship. In the month of October, we were reflecting and praying, especially through the devotion to the Rosary, on the dignity of the human life from the womb to the tomb.
This weekends reading invites us to reflect on LOVE: love for God and love for neighbor. We continue to hear from the Gospel of Matthew (22:34-40). A scholar of the law came to Jesus with a question: "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" The reason behind the question is clear, the grudge: Jesus silenced the Sadducees, so what we can do the next.
As usual, Jesus uses the opportunity to teach them. The first part of Jesus' answer is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 “Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” This was part of the Shema, the basic and essential creed of Judaism, which every Jewish child would memorize. It tells us that our total commitment is to God.
The second part of Jesus' answer is from Leviticus 19:18 “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Jews had laws for everything. Our love for God needs to be delivered in love for other human beings.
In a way, Jesus emphasizes the scriptures which they all know and reminds us what is most important in the law. First and foremost love for God and love for the human being who was created in the image and likeness of God.
The first reading is taken from the Covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19-24). Israelites were liberated from slavery and they are Mount Sinai. The reading for this weekend talks about how to treat the other person. In another word, it is talking about God’s law of LOVE: love God and neighbor. In the second reading, Paul presents the people of Thessalonians who lived their faithfully. They expressed their love for God in prayer and their love for the neighbor in compassion and mercy. Paul is praising their enthusiasm and love for the faith. This weekend readings can be summarized in one word: LOVE.
Congratulations! All of you might have read in the Catholic Herald that Betty Hirtreiter received the Pax Christi Award. Please join me to congratulate her. We will recognize and celebrate the joy in later days. Congratulations Betty!