Daily Gospel Reflection - Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 22:34-40
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, some Pharisees challenge Jesus to answer which commandment of the Law is the greatest. Jesus responds that every power, every capacity in us must be given over to the love of God. But what exactly does it mean to love God?
St. Bernard of Clairvaux is helpful here. He said that the goal of the spiritual life is to love God alone, for the sake of God alone. Obviously, there are many things that compete for the love of God alone—money, sex, power, pleasure. But what Bernard saw is that even if God alone is the center of my life, I still might not be truly loving him for his sake alone. I might be using him.
He makes a helpful little distinction. He says that a slave has a kind of love for his master, but it is not truly love, for it is much more like fear. This can be very helpfully applied to the spiritual life. Many people who claim they love God really fear him. What might he do to me? If I don’t do the right things, I will be punished. Such attitudes are a long way from love.