Homily August 25th, 2023

Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time – Mt 22:34-40

Today’s Gospel presents us with the greatest commandments of the Law, and it’s worth noting that the principles Jesus gives are positive ones; they are things to be done, and not things to be avoided. This is because the foundation of the law is love. We can fulfill the commandments without loving God, but that’s not really keeping the Commandments. Likewise, if I really love God, I’ll show my love by doing what He asks. So, we “love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength,” this implies that we must serve Him, and, if we are to serve Him, we must know His will. We must know what He wants for us. We have to ask, and be willing to embrace whatever that answer is, be it a call to sacrifice more, to suffer, to pray more . . . or just to patiently endure something He wants to send us.

Likewise, a true love for God goes out to our neighbors. Saint Gregory the Great said that “the proof, the showing forth of love, is found in deeds. The love of God is never idle: if it’s real, it does great things. If it refuses to work, it’s not real.”[1] Indeed, a good measure for our love of God is the love that we have for our neighbors. In his first letter Saint John tells us that “whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). The Servant of God Dorothy Day put that same idea in other words when she said “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”[2]

Today, we can ask ourselves if we really are open to hearing God’s will for our lives. Oftentimes, we can try to convince ourselves that we’re doing what God wants when, in reality, we’re doing what we want. How often do we tell God, “Thy will be done?,” but really what I mean is “My will be done?” How often do we ask Him to show us His will for us in daily life, and ask Him for the courage to follow through with it? Today, let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, for the grace to take the risk of following God, to embrace His will for our lives, and so be able to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves.

[1] “Probatio enim dilectionis, exhibitio est operis: nunquam amor Dei est otiosus: operatur enim magna, si est; si vero operari renuerit, amor non est.” Cited in the Catena Aurea.

[2] Cited in Larry Richards Surrender!: The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will.



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