“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD… AND YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF” (Luke 10:27)
⏰Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
📖Deut 30:10-14; Ps 69:13 and 16, 29-30, 32-33, 35ab and 36 (R.v.32); Col 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
🎤”YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD… AND YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF” (Luke 10:27)
Remember the focus of the liturgy of last Sunday – Bearing the mark of Christ in us and taking him to others. We have the same focus in our liturgy today. That tells us that this is a matter of great importance to Jesus.
In the field of Christian ethics, we have a progression from what we call the “ethics of doing” to the “ethics of being”. That progression is very much evident in our readings of today, especially in the First Reading and the Gospel. In the First Reading, taken from a account of the farewell speech of Moses to the Israelites, the Law of God, which was inscribed on stone tablets and given to Moses is expected to be engraved in the heart of men too.
Pay attention to this: the brain is used to memorize things while the heart is used for emotions. It is not by accident that Moses said that the Law is written in their hearts (cf. Deut 30:14). The lawyer who came to test Jesus in the Gospel obviously know his onions in matters of the Law. Thank God that he knows that love is the summary of the Law as the Jews have it in their daily recitation (cf. Deut 6:4). However, the difference between knowing and doing is immediately seen in the lawyer. He knows that love should be the foundation of all actions, yet, he was doing his own bit to assert himself (cf. Luke 10:29). He has something in common with the priest and the levite that passed by the wounded man. Hence, Jesus told the story to correct him.
In Jesus’ reply to the question, “who is my neighbour?”, we can note that our neighbours at any given time are those who are in need of God’s mercy, irrespective of the reasons for his problems and not minding what it might cost us to assist them. Note that;
👉The wounded man in the Gospel is like that person you warned ahead of time of the dangers of a decision he/she is about to take, but he/she ignored you and later got in trouble.
👉He is like that person you see on your way to Church or to an important duty and any delay can cause you to be late if you stop by to help.
👉He is like that person of whom you have every justification not to help, maybe because of the danger in doing so.
Those are the ways we can articulate the attitudes of the priest and the levite. In essence, they simply obeyed the law (see Num 19:11). But Jesus is calling on to go beyond the letters of the law and embrace the spirit of the law, which is summarized by love.
St. Paul noted, in the Second Reading, that God gave us Jesus as his true image. In Jesus therefore, we learn of what it means to love. First, it was while we were still deep in sin that he died for us (Rom 5:8) and left us an example to follow (1 Pet 2:21). Hence, the kind of sacrificial love he offered to us is what we too are required to offer to others (cf. 1 John 3:16). To be able to do that, we must go beyond the dictates of human reason and embrace the love of Christ.
May God grant us the grace to understand what it means to love as he loves and the strength to love our neighbours as ourselves. Amen.
Happy Sunday dear. Peace be with you.