The 30th Sunday of the Year

Ex 22:20-26; 1 Thess 1:5-10; Mt 22:34-40 (Year A)

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell this to the sons of Israel. You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.” At the heart of the law entrusted to Moses was the repeated injunction to care for the poor and needy, frequently identified with “the stranger in your midst, the widow and the orphan”. These broad categories gave a special place to the powerless, to those without a voice.

Further instructions guarded the poor from exploitation: “If you lend money to any poor man, you must not demand interest from him. If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must return it before sunset. It is all the covering he has.”

Such instructions were more than the financial arrangements of a primitive society; they were the expression of the fundamental relationship between God and his people.

The tribes of Israel existed only because the God of Israel had heard their cry in Egypt. In love he had responded to their need, and therefore they themselves were called to the same compassion. “If the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, it was not because you outnumbered other peoples: you were the least of all peoples. It was for love of you that the Lord brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery.”

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