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Thank God For God

On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets
Matthew 22:34-40

Sermon Topic Love

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 22:40


In today's Gospel Lesson, one of the Pharisees -- a lawyer -- asks Jesus a question "to test him," Matthew tells us. "Teacher," the lawyer asks, "which is the great commandment in the law?" (Mt. 22:36). Jesus replies that the commandment to love is the greatest commandment.

This commandment is, first of all, to love God. We are commanded to give ourselves over to God unconditionally and completely. Every aspect of our personhood is included. We are to love God emotionally (that is to say, with our hearts). We are to love God freely (that is to say, with our souls). We are to love God intellectually (that is to say, with our minds). In Jesus' own words, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment" (Mt.22:37-39).

If you were raised in a family that incorporated prayer into your childhood routine, you may recall a time when it seemed that stretching out your night prayers was the only way to get around the command to "Go to sleep." One little girl became an expert at this by developing an ever-growing list of "Thank-you-God" prayers. She would pray for every child she knew: "Thank you God for Alice; thank you God for Patty; thank you God for Bobby," and on and on. Then she would breath deeply and run through a list of the adults she encountered at school: "Thank you God for our principal, Mr. Baker; thank you God for Miss Nordell, my teacher; thank you God for Mrs. Frano, the school librarian." And on and on. She also had a catch-all list which included such items as, "Thank you God for the lady in the shoe store; thank you God for my birthday which comes in eleven weeks and three days." Of course there was a "Thank you God for mommy and daddy," and one each for "Alice's and Patty's and Bobby's mommy and daddy." There were nights, however, when this prayerful little girl was so tired she could [...]

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