THIRTY FIRST SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
The Sunday Scriptures
Jesus has now made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and we are now in the denouement with his teaching in the Temple. The Lord draws together the traditional 613 misvoth (the commands in the Torah) in his great summary (Mark 12:28-34). The first and greatest of these is the Shema and the second is drawn equally, from the very heart of the Torah, in Leviticus 19:18. In his first great discourse in Deuteronomy (1:6-4:43), Moses encourages the people to respond to God’s love for them. The words of the Shema are to be written on the heart – which in the Scriptures is a short-hand for the memory, intellect and will (Deuteronomy 6:2-6). The Letter to the Hebrews compares the Aaronic priesthood with its multiplicity of sacrifices with that of Christ, the ideal, perfect High Priest who offers his sacrifice hapax – once for all (Hebrews 7:23-28).
Gaudium et Spes Part II: Chapter 5 The Fostering of Peace and the Establishment of a Community of Nations, Section 1 (77-82) 
Chapter 5, Part II, is entitled ‘The Fostering of Peace and Establishment of a Community of Nations.’ After an Introduction and a reflection on the nature of peace, the Chapter is divided into two sections, the first being the avoidance of war. It systematically works through the savagery of war, total warfare, the Arms race and international action to prevent war. It praises all human efforts to avoid war, and proclaims that ultimately all is based upon a deep understanding of peace. ‘Peace is more than the absence of war…It is appropriately called “the effect of righteousness (Is 32:17)”…Peace on earth, which flows from love of one’s neighbour, symbolizes and derives from the peace of Christ who proceeds from the Father.’ (78)
We are reminded once again that the purpose of the laws of the Old Testament and the interpretation of Jesus are the same: the love of God and neighbour. The life of faith is profoundly both contemplative and active. The mystery of the God who we are called to love is lived out in love of neighbour. This is nowhere untied together more fully than in working for righteousness and peace at all levels, as is emphasised in Gaudium et Spes.
Points for reflection
- In what ways can we promote justice and peace more effectively not merely in our society but amongst ourselves in the Church?
- How do we help each other and others understand that peace is more than an absence of war?
- What can we do to deepen our love of God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
Canon Mervyn Tower