Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279


October 24, 2020


A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
Matthew 22: 34 – 40
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
As the Gospel narrative of St. Matthew progresses, the opposition to Jesus grows in intensity. No doubt, he has his followers, but it is difficult to believe in someone whose work is opposed by the prevailing authorities. Jesus encounters such opposition at every twist and turn in his missionary outreach to the poor, broken, and rejected.
According to Matthew 22: 34-40, a teacher comes to Jesus with the most important question anyone could ask: “What is the most important commandment?” The answer to such a question reveals the purpose of one’s life, the driving force behind everything they do, and the passion by which they do it.
The motivations of the teacher are questionable. The importance of the question is beyond dispute. At some point in our lives, all of us will need to ask and answer the question for ourselves. 
Jesus does not seem to hesitate in responding. The answer is something he lived every day of his life. “Love God with all your mind, heart, and soul” is the summation of the Scripture and the essence of life as Jesus sees it. The teacher who confronted Jesus now receives more than he bargained for since Jesus continues to answer his question with another response: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The answer of Jesus reveals the deep interconnection between loving God and loving neighbor. One is impossible without the other. The word “neighbor” is the “problem.”
Jesus spent his entire life expanding the neighborhood. The neighbor was no longer merely the person next door or the likable friend, but anyone encountered on the road of life. The disciples of Jesus, then and now, will need to contend with a neighborhood without borders. Jesus called this neighborhood the “Kingdom of God” where the last would be first, and the enemyvwould be the welcomed guest, the outsider would sit at the table, and the noble would be their servant.
Strangely, many came to think of the Kingdom of God as life after death. For Jesus, the Kingdom comes in the here and now of life. He even prayed, “May your kingdom come, and you will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” Disciples of Jesus must not be an obstacle to the arrival of the Kingdom in meeting another person who is, in fact, the neighbor worthy of love.
“Love” implies many things. The Gospel uses a powerful word for love, which means the self-giving love asking nothing in return. The faithful disciple of Jesus takes the initiative by welcoming the stranger with open arms and open heart. This is the kind of love that seeks nothing but the privilege of serving others.
If this love is the prime directive of the Scripture, the essence of the prophetic teachings, and the core practice of Jesus, how should we live and respond in our own time and place? If we “love” Jesus, would we not take his teaching seriously? We need to ask ourselves if we want to live in a neighborhood without borders, without walls, without prejudice? We need to probe our hearts, discerning what motivates us as we go about the daily affairs of life. We need to discover how we would answer the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  


Blessing to you, Holy Community, for striving to live the self-giving love as taught by Jesus in all the affairs of your life.