(Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10; Matthew 22:34-40}

The first reading (Ex 22:20-26) urges us to be kind and considerate to strangers, widows and orphans because God hears their cries to the heavens for vengeance. The reading challenges us on demands of practical religion.

In the second reading (1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10), St. Paul demands that we copy the Thessalonians by being examples of faith, hope and love in our world.

The gospel reading (Matthew 22:34-40) presents us with Christ’s message of vertical and horizontal dimensions of love. In fact he 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.”

Our love for God is simply a response to His exceeding love and goodness towards us. The more we experience God’s love, care and goodness towards us, the more we should in appreciation love him back by loving what he loves and rejecting whatever that is contrary to his will and love.

This brings us to the other side of the coin, which is Love of Neighbour. Love of God and love of neighbour are like one coin with two faces. You cannot practice one and neglects the other. Our love of God is like planting a seed in the ground while our love of neighbour is the fruits the tree bears. No tree would bear lasting fruits if it has not been firmly rooted in the ground. In the same way nobody can truly love others well if he has no genuine love of God rooted in his heart. It is only the love of God in our heart that would move us to love others much better and genuinely.

I love you Lord, my strength!