Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 14, 2019
We usually refer to today’s Gospel story as the story of the Good Samaritan. But the person at the center is the lawyer. This expert in the law really represents each one of us. Jesus does not let him off the hook as he dialogues with this man.
There is opposition today in our country to displaying the Ten Commandments on public property. Somehow there laws are seen as violations of the separation of Church and state. In reality, they are part of the natural law written in every human heart. The basic natural law is DO GOOD AND AVOID EVIL. It tells us how to relate to our Creator, ourselves, and to our neighbor. Because of sinfulness in the people of Israel, God spelled it out for them through Moses, the great law giver. Other civilizations developed similar laws. The Jewish people over the centuries developed a whole body of laws from this starting point. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Commandments act as a skeleton for our code of conduct as Catholics. When the commandments are disobeyed everything goes badly for the human race.
The lawyer knew the law of God when asked by Jesus: What I written in the Law?
The scholar answered: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus answered: do this and you will live!
Next, the man posed the question, and who is my neighbor? And he received an answer he did not expect. Jews and Samaritans were enemies. The lawyer thought Jesus would commend him in his following of the law. Jesus in the end asked him to love an enemy and whom he thought was an unlovable person. The Samaritan’s own people walked by him but his enemy had deep compassion for him and came to his rescue, going out of his way to help him.
The Samaritan didn’t need to stand around thinking about the Law and how it was to be interpreted. His didn't need to consult with any scholars. He responded with the law that was already written in his heart.
Today, many people when asked about the Ten Commandments, cannot name them. These are the basis of Western Civilization and the civil law. We will fall into chaos without these standards given to us by God. If people have not heard about the Commandments and have not taken them to heart humanity will suffer terribly and in fact we see the results as we speak.
In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus shows us his great love for us. He gives us his love unconditionally, we who are sinful, poor, and wounded. We leave this holy place with the grace to GO AND DO LIKEWISE to all those we meet along our way.