October 27, 2023

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe Book of Exodus provides the first reading for Mass this weekend. In ancient Jewish tradition, Exodus came from Moses. Therefore, in a most special way, it is the very word of God since Moses represented God and was the link between God and the chosen people.

Through Moses, God gave the Hebrews direction for every aspect of their lives. This weekend’s reading from Exodus addresses certain specific realities in life, such as the lending of money.

Primary in the Hebrew religion from the beginning was a respect for each person. It was a respect founded on the notion of God as Creator and final governor of human lives.

Every person has the right to be respected and treated justly. No one can be exploited or mistreated, not even strangers or enemies.

Of course, the details are important. But even more important is total human obedience to God and to God’s law.

For the second reading, the Church presents a reading from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians. In this epistle, Paul’s advice is firm. He urges obedience to God, without exception, compromise or qualification.

Paul offers his own devotion to the Lord as an example. Following Jesus brings joy, the Apostle insists.

Bearing witness to Christ, which we know as evangelization, is an opportunity for Christians. Paul urged the Christians of Thessalonica to be a model for all the people of Macedonia and Achaia (an ancient name for Greece). He tells the Thessalonians that their faith, their turning away from idols, was an inspiration to many.

St. Matthew’s Gospel provides the last reading. It is a familiar and beloved text.

Often seen as an effort to trick Jesus, the question of the Pharisees in this story may have had a more pragmatic purpose. The Pharisees were teachers who instructed others about the law of Moses and called others to obey this law. Reducing any teaching to a summary is a good educational technique.

Even so, good will cannot be assumed. After all, many Pharisees disliked Jesus and would have liked to discredit the Lord’s message if at all possible.

Christ’s reply is obvious. It certainly is no departure from or repudiation of Jewish religious tradition since it echoes ancient and fundamental Jewish belief.

More broadly, the Lord’s lesson is directly to the point. God is supreme. The true disciple must reach every decision with the standard of love for God, uncompromised and absolute, first in their minds.

Bluntly speaking, true discipleship means active respect for every other person since every human being is God’s treasured creation.

God’s law is supreme and a mandate to love others.


True Christianity is more than an intellectual assent to certain theological propositions. While the creed of the Church is vital, Christianity means a way of life and a state of mind, a heartfelt, personal choice to recognize God’s supremacy. Christianity is more than lip service.

In a word, it means loving others as God loves them, caring for others, always resisting any effort to belittle or exploit others. So, Paul in First Thessalonians reminds us Christians of the need to bear witness forever to God’s love and justice.

This does not necessarily mean that people agree with each other. People have various experiences. They have their minds that judge things. The opinions of one are rarely shared by all.

Anger, bitterness and often even hatred fill public discourse. As far as politics is concerned, it is a tragic departure from what was once the case. People with differing viewpoints respected each other.

This descent into ugliness is affecting private thoughts and statements.

Christians have the duty to show, and ask for, God’s love for all. †

Local site Links: