First Reading: Ru 1:1,3-6,14b-16,22
Gospel: Mt 22:33-40
Repentance and Forgiveness
The two commandments Jesus gave his disciples in today’s Gospel, in an academic discussion, is a summarization of the ten that God gave Moses in Mt. Sinai. The first, love God with your heart, soul and mind, is a summary of the first three commandments. The second, love your neighbor as you love yourself, is a summary of the remaining seven commandments from the Old Testament.
On a spiritual level, these two commandments speak of one and the same thing: that we should love.
Throughout Scripture, we are told that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that a small part of God is in each and everyone of us, and vice versa. This means that by following the first commandment, we are following the second. And that in doing the second, we are doing the first.
This may sound simple, but it calls for us to always act in love. We should pray not only because it is a necessity, but it is an expression of our love for God. We should help the poor not only because it helps the less fortunate, but in doing so we are doing the will of God.
This love should also extend to repentance. Repentance is a form of love that we should all strive for. In our ministry, my shepherd taught me how to seek forgiveness: ask the Lord for forgiveness for my sins, forgive others who have sinned against me, and forgive myself of my sins. The etymology of the word is very powerful: for-GIVE-ness. It is about giving, which is a true form of love. It is the kind of love that we give willingly because we seek to build and renew relationships within our community. It is the kind of love that is unconditional, that should not expect anything in return.
We all have the capacity to forgive, because God has the capacity to forgive. Forgiveness is love. We should welcome every opportunity to forgive someone.
“Jesus told to him: ‘You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
But the second is similar to it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mt 22:37,39)”