30th Sunday Ordinary Time – “You Will Love the Lord your God…”
I found this odd feature of the Greek verb, agapáo, “to love,” used in Sunday’s gospel. It’s in the future tense. There may be scholars better than I who see this future tense used in the command form – “Thou shalt… Thou shalt not…” That sort of thing.
What if… What if Matthew (and the author(s) of Deuteronomy) used the future tense simply as future tense? As in, “I will go to lunch with Bob & Sue today.” To me it would mean that at some point in time, we will love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. That the grace of God at work in us in this life and the next will lead us there.
Inasmuch as this could be the case (???), how far outside our comfort zones are you and I willing to be drawn so that this word will be fulfilled in us? [I feel the resistance building… You?]
Matthew 5:43–46 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love [future tense] your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies [imperative!] and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matthew 6:23f but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 19:17–20 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love [future tense] your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?”
Jesus tells this one he lacks ‘selling all he has and giving it to the poor’. The Septuagint underscores this same singleness of purpose Jesus asked from the rich young man.
Genesis 22:2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”
Leviticus 19:34 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.