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Liturgy

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Deut 6:2-6; Hebr 7:23-28; Mk 12:28b-34

Jean-Francois Millet - The Good Samaritan

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, 'He is One and there is no other than he.' And 'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mk 12:28b-34

"You must love your neighbour as yourself". If our love for God is real, Christ is saying, it will express itself in love for our fellow human beings. Obviously this love is different from the particular and exclusive love that we reserve for family relationships and the people we're emotionally close to.

The love that Christ is proposing here is more a determined effort of will to surrender our own self-interest for the sake of the needs or the welfare of others. It's more a matter of a basic stance towards anyone and everyone - our "neighbour" - than a matter of the emotions that come into play in our close relationships.

Jesus' own illustration of this love is the behaviour of the Good Samaritan, putting himself out and looking after a complete stranger. This was a love that's free from any calculation of results or benefits for ourselves. It doesn't seek any reward. Christ himself showed this form of love throughout his ministry, most of all when he went to his death praying for the people who had conspired to kill him.

The Good Samaritan by Ronald Rae, Glenrothes

So there's something costly and difficult about this Christian love. It's the one thing that enhances our spiritual stature and brings out our resemblance to God. But at the same time it goes against the grain of all our more self-seeking inclinations, and that's where the problems can start.

By Dave Perry

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)

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