Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 6, 2020 – Year A
Readings: Ez 33:7-9 / Ps 95 / Rom 13:8-10 / Mt 18:15-20
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday we had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, attendance we’ve ever had at a First Saturday Mass here at Holy Name of Mary. Part of the reason is because we had some visitors from other states who came to worship with us.
After the Mass, I had a chance to talk to a family who had driven several hours, so they could be with their elderly parents here in Bedford County. Their children had been looking forward to this for months: the opportunity to see their grandpa and grandma. So thankfully this trip, in spite of the pandemic, was not out of the question. As you know, it is not easy to travel these days, but love was a powerful motivator for them to make this kind of sacrifice.
In today’s second reading, which was taken from the letter of St Paul to the Romans, the apostle Paul has tried to put all God’s commandments in a nutshell. And we should keep in mind that he is writing to the early Christians, who absolutely love God, and they care about these commandments.
With this as the background, the apostle Paul said, “Whatever other commandments are summed up in these words: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Every person we meet, as we all know, is our neighbor, but we surely can start with those around us most of the time: the members of our family.
I am blessed to witness this kind of love in action in the course of my priestly ministry. A couple of days ago I did a graveside service for Ralph, a parishioner here in Holy Name and a friend. Ralph had been bedridden for almost two years at home and, needless to say, this was really difficult for his family, but his wife, Jaye, never left his side until he gave his last breath. I was privileged to be there last Sunday when Ralph was born into life eternal, and I saw how the words, “til death do us part,” had been exemplified by this wonderful couple who had been married for more than sixty-four years.
After the funeral service, Paul, one of their grandsons, said to Jaye, “Grandma, I will be here with you for a few days. Just tell me what I can do for you and consider it done. And I will always be here for you.” My dear brothers and sisters, love like this is not taught, it is caught, because children and grandchildren learn what they live.
Let us listen again to the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans: “Brothers and sisters, owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, because the one who loves has fulfilled God’s law.”