First reading Ruth 1:1,3-6,14-16,22

Ruth the Moabitess is brought to Bethlehem by Naomi

In the days of the Judges famine came to the land and a certain man from Bethlehem of Judah went – he, his wife and his two sons – to live in the country of Moab. Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she and her two sons were left. These married Moabite women: one was named Orpah and the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died and the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband. So she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her people. But Ruth clung to her.
  Naomi said to her, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. You must return too; follow your sister-in-law.’
  But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to leave you and to turn back from your company, for
‘wherever you go, I will go,
wherever you live, I will live.
Your people shall be my people,
and your God, my God.’
This was how Naomi, she who returned from the country of Moab, came back with Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
 

Responsorial Psalm 145(146):5-10

My soul, give praise to the Lord.
or
Alleluia!
 
 
He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God,
  whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth,
  the seas and all they contain.
 
It is he who keeps faith for ever,
  who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
  the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
 
the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
  who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
  and upholds the widow and orphan.
 
It is the Lord who loves the just
  but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
  Zion’s God, from age to age.
 

Gospel Matthew 22:34-40

The commandments of love

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must 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 resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’
 
_____________________
 

The great commandment

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself”. The commandment to love God and love others are inseparable. As St. John wrote in 1 John 4:20: “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen”. Thus, when we love God, we are loving our neighbours. When we love our neighbours, we are loving God. The word “neighbours” includes not simply our family members and people close to us, but also those who are different from us, who do not have the same values as us, who do not like us, etc.
 
Christian love is not passive and emotional. Instead, it is an active love that chooses to show mercy, compassion and kindness to each person, no matter if he/she is loveable or unloveable. No doubt, such love is not easy. However, with Christ’s help, we can love as God loves, even when we do not feel like it.
 
Reflective question:
What does loving God and neighbour mean today?
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year A” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.