August 12, 2017

Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Deuteronomy 6:4-13  +  Matthew 17:14-20

“‘The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!’”

The beginning of today’s First Reading starts a prayer called the Shema.  To this day, devout Jews pray the Shema each morning and evening.  Some make these words the last they speak before falling asleep.  In the broader context of Jewish liturgy, the Shema consists of verses from both Deuteronomy and Numbers.  But reflect here on just the first two verses.

Deuteronomy 6:4 is the Jewish profession of faith.  The Christian creed recited at Sunday Mass is quite long compared to this single verse.  But for us Christians, everything contained in our creed is rooted in this single verse:  the bedrock of monotheism.

Deuteronomy 6:5, then, builds upon the former verse.  Given the truth of the former, the latter is a command, a call to action that flows as a consequence from the truth of authentic monotheism.  The Lord God, being who He is, calls for our complete love.  He calls for love from our whole self:  heart, soul and strength.

Virgin and Child - Bernardo Daddi