We owe God our full-hearted “yes”

JULY 14, 2019 FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  

(Lec.105)   1) Deuteronomy 30:10-14     2) Colossians 1:15-20

3) Luke 10:25-37 Gospel related: CCC 1293, 1825, 2083, 2822 CSDC 112

Today’s Scriptures present us with a challenge: to live out our Christian lives wholeheartedly, to love God with everything that is in us, and to put aside our own comfort and ease in the service of our neighbor – especially at the moment we see our neighbor in need.

In the first reading, Moses presents us with this deep challenge as he tells his fellow Israelites to return to God with all your heart and all your soul, listening to God and obeying God’s commands. In the Gospel, the scholar seems to understand this demand when he tells Jesus that the way to eternal life is to 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.

This is a tall order, and it calls on us to examine our conscience. It asks us to think about all that we do each day, and ask ourselves whether or not we are indeed loving God and neighbor absolutely and completely. We might consider how we give this love in the midst of our busy lives, when we have children to take care of, jobs that call on much of our attention each day, and responsibilities to our friends and our community.

One way to do this is through love and service to our neighbor – especially at difficult and inconvenient times. That was certainly the case in Jesus’ parable in the Gospel. The Samaritan probably had his own plans for the day as he walked along the road. Yet the moment he saw the robbers’ victim lying on the road, severely injured, he dropped his plans and responded. He showed incredible care for this stranger, his neighbor, even changing his plans to return the next day to ensure that this neighbor was looked after.

This great love for God and neighbor is a “simple” command that we all know can at times be difficult to follow. Moses reminds us that God’s law is written within our hearts. All we need is to listen to God as he speaks within our hearts, and respond fully to what we are told to do at each individual moment. This could mean praise and adoration of God – or responding to the immediate situation: calling a friend whose mother died, listening to a child’s tale of woe or helping the stranger at our door.

As we approach the altar, let us pray for open, loving hearts and minds, ready to respond immediately out of total love for God to whatever is demanded of us at each moment.