In this week’s readings, the Pharisees test Jesus with a question about God’s Law. They do not realize that Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, cannot be tricked or tripped up with any question. They have hardened their hearts and will not really listen, convinced of their own self-righteousness in following the commandments of God given through Moses. They have not circumcised their hearts, as Moses instructed the people when he gave them the Law, and so their ears are closed to Jesus’ message of repentance and forgiveness. Let us rejoice in the grace of our faithful God, who sent His Son to die even for those who didn’t think they needed Him to save them, and humbly ask Him to open our ears, our hearts, and our minds to Jesus, the Word of God.
The Old Testament lesson is from the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 10, verses 12-21:
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.
The Epistle lesson is from 1 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 4-9:
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Gospel for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity is from Matthew, chapter 22, verses 34-46:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
They said to him, “The son of David.”
He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.