Thanks for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
One thing that amazes me about the prayers of the mass is how old some of them are. Although it is referred to as a new prayer, the parts of this week’s prayer have been compiled from other texts that date back to the sixth century, and even back to the book of Matthew.
To: O God,
Who: who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor,
Do: <em>grant that, by keeping your precepts,
Accure: we may merit to attain eternal life.
Through: Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
The Who of the prayer this week is found in numerous places of the Bible including Matthew 22:34-40. A scholar of the law tested Jesus and asked him which commandment in the law is the greatest. If we didn’t already know, it should be easy to guess what Jesus said, “you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
This commandment, although we maybe had to think about it for a bit, should come to mind because it was the first commandment Jesus followed.
The second commandment Jesus gives in his answer also tells us how Jesus lived. To the scholar Jesus continues, “the second [commandment] is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The whole - ALL - the commands of God’s law are founded on two things: love of Him and love of neighbor. Just two things.
As I thought about those two commandments, and I thought about the Ten Commandments, I realized that we really only need two. If we love God first, we won’t have other gods or idols, we won’t take God’s name in vain, and we will want to remember the Sabbath. Murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting aren’t an issue if we love and honor others.
In the Do of the prayer, we ask God to allow us to keep his precepts, which are commands. These are the two things: the love of God and the love of others.
Our prayer this week also has an Accrue, something to gain, and in my opinion, it’s a deal-breaker. We ask to attain eternal life. The phrase of this prayer is dependent. It doesn’t stand on its own, we can’t just ask for eternal life. In this prayer, if we wish to gain eternal life, we must keep God’s precepts: love Him and love others.
Just two things. Two things which have already changed the world. It was Jesus’ love for God the Father that brought him to take on flesh and become man. It was his love for others that made him willing give up that life for us.