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October 29, 2023: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesu had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”


There are hundreds of biblical commandments. Hundreds! Asking Jesus which is the most important is like asking, “Which human being is most important?” But Jesus cuts through their hypocrisy by getting straight to the heart of things. We need to take care of other people as we take care of ourselves. This might not be a popular message in a “me-first” world, but it’s one that’s echoed by nearly every major philosophy and religion, from the Golden Rule to the Zoroastrian aphorism, “Do not do to others what is harmful to yourself.”

So why is it that we still have such a problem with it? In the book, Holy Moments, author Matthew Kelly relates a story about a monk who saves his monastery from its downward spiral by telling his fellow monks that the messiah lives among them. No one knows who it is, but everyone is eager to treat his fellows as if each of them could be. What if the messiah is among those you meet today? How would that change the way you face the world?


Live the above scenario for one day. Today, look at every person you encounter as Christ’s second coming. Treat them as you would treat Him. At the end of the day, analyze whether (and how) this changed your interactions.

What did you do differently? How can you incorporate some of what you felt and did into everyday life? Come up with one change you can easily make in your dealings with others and try to implement it.

For me, this was simply being open to less “alone-time.” Not easy for an introvert, but necessary in celebrating the gift of others!

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Lori Strawn

Lori Strawn

Providence Associate Lori Strawn is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Witchita, Kansas. A 1987 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Lori formerly served on the advisory board for the Providence Associates.

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  1. Avatar Debbie Griffey on October 26, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    “What if the Messiah is among those you meet today?” What a delightful lens of looking at others and loving our neighbor as we love ourself. Joyful, really. Thank you, Lori, for this reflection.

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