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Wherever We Turn

Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?
Matthew 22:34-40

Sermon Topic Commandments

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 22:36


On her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Abigail Van Buren, ran the following letter to her husband in her syndicated "Dear Abby" column:

Dear Mort: July 2, 1964. Today is a very special day for me. It's my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and I have this to say: I had a mother and father who really loved each other, so I know what love is. I have worked hard to see two teen-agers safely through their traumatic teens, so I know what satisfaction is. I have prayed, and my prayers have been answered, so I know what faith is. I have had by my side the kindest, gentlest, most considerate human being I've ever known, so I know what joy is. I love you.1

Joy is not the same as pleasure, or even happiness. A totally corrupt person can experience pleasure. And any ordinary human person can experience happiness on occasion. Genuine joy, in the Biblical sense, comes from loving God and neighbor.

To enjoy oneself is not the same as having joy within oneself. The joy born of love of God and neighbor enables one to see the world from an elevated and enriched perspective.

The joy born of love enables us to see that fulfillment comes not from what we cling to, but from what we surrender; not from what we receive, but from what we give; not from what others can do for us, but from what we can do for others.

Do you remember the Parable of the Last Judgment in which Jesus clearly spells out what really matters in this life? And do you remember that, in the parable, the King does not say to those on His right hand, "I was hungry and you felt sorry for Me ... I was naked and you wished with all your heart that I had a full wardrobe ... I was sick and you were sympathetic with me ... I was imprisoned and you could almost feel the manacles cutting into my wrists. It didn't add up that way for Jesus. What mattered was that the hungry were fed, the [...]

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