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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 15th (C) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Deut 30:10-14): Moses said to the people: «If only you would heed the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this book of the law, when you return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul. For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’. Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’. No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out».
Responsorial Psalm: 68
R/. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, o Lord, for the time of your favor, o God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Answer me, o Lord, for bounteous is your kindness: in your great mercy turn toward me.

I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help, o God, protect me. I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live. «See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the Lord hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not».

For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. The descendants of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall inhabit it.

Or Ps 19

R/ Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.
2nd Reading (Col 1:15-20): Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 6:63c.68c): Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 10,25-37): A teacher of the Law came and began putting Jesus to the test. And he said, «Master, what shall I do to receive eternal life?». Jesus replied, «What is written in the Scripture? How do you understand it?». The man answered, «It is written: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself’». Jesus replied, «What a good answer! Do this and you shall live».

The man wanted to keep up appearances, so he replied, «Who is my neighbor?». Jesus then said, «There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. It happened that a priest was going along that road and saw the man, but passed by on the other side. Like-wise a Levite saw the man and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, too, was going that way, and when he came upon the man, he was moved with compassion. He went over to him and treated his wounds with oil and wine and wrapped them with bandages. Then he put him on his own mount and brought him to an inn where he took care of him. The next day he had to set off, but he gave two silver coins to the innkeeper and told him: ‘Take care of him and whatever you spend on him, I will repay when I come back’».

Jesus then asked, «Which of these three, do you think, made himself neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?». The teacher of the Law answered, «The one who had mercy on him». And Jesus said, «Go then and do the same».

«A Samaritan was moved with compassion. He went over to him and treated his wounds. Then he put him on his own mount...»

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater (Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, we might wonder: «Who is my neighbor?» (Lk 10:29). Some inquisitive Jews were wondering why their rabbi disappeared on Saturday vigils. They suspected he had a secret, maybe with God, and they entrusted someone to follow him..., what he, quite moved, did to a wretched slum. There he saw the rabbi cooking and sweeping at some woman's home: she was a paralytic, and the rabbi was serving her and preparing her some special meal for the festivity. When the spy came back, the Jews asked him: «Where did he go, to Heaven, amongst clouds and stars?». But the spy answered: «No!, he climbed up much higher».

To love our neighbor with good deeds is the highest up we can climb; it is where true love is made manifest, not just passing by on the other side: In a document, the 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council, asserts «Christ himself raises his voice amongst the poor so as to stir up his disciples' charity».

To be a good Samaritan means to change our plans («he went over to him»), dedicating our time («he took care of him»)... Which allows us to contemplate the figure of the innkeeper, as His Holiness John Paul II points out: «What could the Samaritan have done without him? In fact, the innkeeper, remaining anonymous, is who takes care of the toughest part of the job. We can all act like him if we fulfill our own task with a spirit of service. Every occupation offers the more or less direct possibility to help the needy (...). The faithful accomplishment of our own professional duties already implies the practice of our loving all persons as well as our society».

To leave everything to harbor he who needs it (the good Samaritan) and to do well our job for love (the innkeeper), are the two ways for us to love our neighbor: «‘Which (…) made himself neighbor’ (...). ‘The one who had mercy on him’. And Jesus said, ‘Go then and do the same’» (Lk 10:36-37).

We turn to the Virgin Mary and She —who is a living example!— will help us discovering our neighbors' material and spiritual needs.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “How great and admirable a thing charity is. Let us pray, then, and beg him that, by his mercy, he allows us to live in charity” (Saint Clement of Rome)

  • “The name ‘Good Samaritan’ fits every individual who is sensitive to the sufferings of others, who ‘is moved’ by the misfortune of another. Therefore one must cultivate this sensitivity of heart, which bears witness to compassion towards a suffering person.” (Saint John Paul II)

  • “When someone asks him, ‘Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?’ (Mt 22:36), Jesus replies: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets’ (Mt 22:37-40). The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2,055)