Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ruth 1:1.3-6.14b-16.22; Matthew 22:34-40)
It is interesting to read how St. Thomas Aquinas makes distinctions between what is primary in importance and what is primary in nature. He would say that love of God may be more important than fear of the Lord, but most people go through a period of fearing God’s justice before recognizing his irresistible goodness. We find Ruth in the first reading today giving priority to love for family but in time, hopefully, she will be moved more by love for the Lord.
In the gospel Jesus is quite clear about the primacy of love for God. He calls love for neighbor “like it” which hints at why we often come to love God after we love our neighbors. In loving our neighbors we see how God created and redeemed them to reflect His goodness. He is the source, end, and sustainer of what makes them loveable. Therefore, he is even more deserving of our love.