Skip to main content

A sermon on Matthew 22:34-40

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Fr. Mike Paraniuk

By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro)
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield)
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union)

It's a good thing I like to drive. I pastor the newly created Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Family in Highland and Adams counties. The family consists of four churches (Hillsboro, Greenfield, West Union and Peebles) spread out over 1,200 square miles. 

While traveling, I have seen many homeless people along the road holding signs asking for money. There are quite a few humorous signs out there. Here are a few examples: 

I bet you can't hit me with a quarter.
Too ugly for modeling, too honest to steal.
Angry? Frustrated? Scream at a bum for 50 cents.
Spent my last dollar on this cardboard and Sharpie.
My ex-wife had a better lawyer.
My wife has been kidnapped. Only need 98 cents to pay ransom.

This sign always opens my wallet: "I'm not lying. Need two bucks for a beer." 

But one sign not only opened my wallet but opened my heart. An elderly man sporting an unkempt beard, scraggly face and no teeth held the sign. Only three words were etched on it. Yet this worn piece of cardboard revealed the inborn desire of every child of God. It simply read: "Need human kindness."

Jesus summarized what God wants you to do in two sentences: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37.) You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 39.) 

When you "give human kindness" to anyone who "needs human kindness," you satisfy all three of God's commands to love. God has linked love for Him with giving kindness to another. Matthew 25:40 says, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." 

God makes this love connection crystal clear in 1 John 4:20: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."

God shows us that loving Him is fulfilled by loving another. But what about that third command to "love ourselves."

Isn't that selfish? Didn't Jesus say in Matthew 16:24: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

To deny yourself means to live for God and not yourself. The very first sin of Adam and Eve was that they wanted to be God. I am not God. You are in spiritual warfare every day between submitting to God's will or succumbing to your own desires. Guess what is the best way to deny yourself? It is by giving human kindness to anyone needing human kindness. God says, "Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others." (1 Corinthians 10:24.) 

To deny yourself doesn't mean to hate yourself. Denying is the best way to show love for yourself. Every time you give human kindness to those seeking it is an opportunity for God to repay you. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” (Romans 2:6) You have a bank account in Heaven with your name on it. Make deposits with your good deeds. The preferred rewards of your earthly bank is nothing compared to God's loyalty rewards.  

Jesus said, "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Rev. 22:12.) 

I hope to one day make a big withdrawal in Heaven. 

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.