Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In what is probably the best known parable in the gospels, the Good Samaritan, we are presented with a young man who is looking to serve God. He knows that we need to love God with our whole minds, hearts and souls, and love our neighbor as ourselves, but he wants to cover all bases and asks, who is my neighbor? and Jesus presents two Temple ministers, a Levite and a priest. They know that if they touch someone who the law said would be defiled in any way, they could not perform their service in the Temple. Yes: they had the written law, but they did not have the law of God in their hearts. So they walked pass the injured man on the side of the road[1].

On the contrary, the Good Samaritan did not base his actions on the written law. He based his actions on the Law within his heart, the Law of Love. The Samaritan’s were a mixed people, part Jewish and part pagan. The Jews called them half breeds and looked down on them for selling out to the pagans, however the Good Samaritan knew the Law better than the priest and the Levite. He did what a person who loves God would naturally do: care with love for someone who was hurting.

Love [you know] our society speaks so much about love that the Christian concept of love rigth now is very devaluated. Way back, there was a movie called Love Story that claimed: “Love is never having to say you are sorry.” Big mistake! Love is always saying you are sorry. Married people are always forgiving and accepting the others forgiveness. We love God, but we are continually going to confession. We seek and receive forgiveness because we know that we are loved.

Obviously, love is far deeper than the natural draw of two people towards each other. Nor is love lust. We are not animals [I mean] we can control our physical desires. What a horrible indictment of our young people when parents feel they need to put their daughters on birth control because neither they nor their boyfriends will be able to control themselves. This is really degrading to both kids. It also does not show a whole lot of faith in their parenting.

Few weeks ago his holiness Benedict XVI, wrote: «Love is not fulfilling oneself through the use of another. Love is giving oneself to another, for the good of the other, and receiving the other as a gift». That’s an extremely powerful statement. Often a person will say to another, “I need you to complete me. I need you to fulfill me.” Some people throw this into their wedding ceremony. Perhaps a husband and wife may say this to each other. Here’s a shocker: this is not correct. We need each other to draw closer to God, but it is God, not the other person who completes our being, who fulfills our purpose for living. Allow me to repeat this idea: it is God, not the other person who completes our being, who fulfills our purpose for living That is the reason why we do not need to marry to grow in love. The object of all real love is God. Some people are not called to marriage. Some are called to the single life. But all are called to love God, all we need is love!

My brother, my sister, the law of God is written in our hearts. We don’t need written rules to govern every aspect of our lives. We don’t need a law that says that as Christians we can’t pass by injured travelers. In the parable, even a Samaritan, knew that. We reach out to others because through them we are reaching out to God.

The lawyer’s question may not have been sincere. He may have been more concerned with testing Jesus then with finding a true answer. But we are genuine when we ask his question: What is it that we need to do to inherit eternal life? Or, more directly, how can we love God? Our Lord gives us the answer: we need to look within ourselves and reach out to God’s Presence wherever our hearts find Him

[1] Sunday 11th July, 2010,  15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Deuteronomy 30:10-14. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live—Ps 68(69):14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37. Colossians 1:15-20. Luke 10:25-37 [St Benedict].
Ilustration: Folio 7v from the Rossano Gospels, the Good Samaritan.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris