23 Oct – Thirteeth Sunday of Ordinary Time; Mission Sunday
The Commandment of Love
Today, through the strength that Christ gives us, we can celebrate with the joy of the Holy Spirit that great commandment of love which once had to be imposed on men under threat of God’s avenging anger.
– The Sunday Missal
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:
‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.
‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.
‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’
1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord; and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you. This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’
We do not need to tell other people about it
In any type of sales work, the most important part is prospecting. This means using a variety of ways to always have people to talk to. Besides what is called the natural market, that is, the people whom we know personally, most sales people aspire to develop what is called the referral market. In Facebook terminology, it is called “friends of friends”. The ideal way of having it done is having a service or product that is so good that our friends automatically tell their friends about it. Unfortunately, some sales people ask their friends to tell their friends about them, which sometimes backfires.
What does sales have to do with our faith? When we evangelise, we are trying to sell a person to the people we evangelise to. We are selling the person of Jesus; we are selling the idea that Jesus loves us and died for us, to someone who does not know Jesus, or has not experienced His love. But we cannot successfully sell any of these if one, we don’t believe it with our whole being; and two, we have never experienced it. The best way to evangelise is to share with others what Jesus did for us and how His love has changed our lives.
This is what people were telling Paul and company about the work that they have done with the Thessalonians. They have seen how the church in Thessalonika changed for the better. Somewhere in the scriptures, it is written that Christians were known by their love for one another. This love for one another made Christian communities stand out among others. This love for one another is Jesus’ second commandment, which flows from the first commandment to love God.
It is our love for God that compels us to share Him with our friends. Friends of ours who get to experience God’s love because we introduced them to Him will go on to share the Lord with their friends. We don’t need to tell them to go and share God with others; they will do it naturally because everyone likes to share good news with their friends.
So, my friends, if you want to evangelise, there is no need to stand at Orchard Road and give out flyers. You just have to share your own relationship with God with your own friends. (Incidentally, this is how this OXYGEN ministry got started.)
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for all Christians to develop their relationship with God and to share Him with our friends.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for developing a personal relationship with us.
Mon, 24 Oct – Romans 8:12-17; Luke 13:10-17; Memorial for St Anthony Claret, Bishop
Tue, 25 Oct – Romans 8:18-25; Luke 13:18-21
Wed, 26 Oct – Romans 8:26-30; Luke 13:22-30
Thu, 27 Oct – Romans 8:31-39; Luke 13:31-35
Fri, 28 Oct – Ephesians 2:19-22; Luke 6:12-19; Feast of Ss Simon and Jude, Apostles
Sat, 29 Oct – Romans 11:1-2.11-12.25-29; Luke 14:1.7-11
Sun, 30 Oct – Malachi 1:14-2:2.8-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9.13; Matthew 23:1-12; Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time