A reflection on the Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
By: Judy Morss
Who is my neighbor?
Our first reading for this Sunday is from Deuteronomy 30:10-14. Moses is finishing his giving of the laws and customs that the Hebrews must follow in order to belong to God. Moses' words are words of comfort. He says, "For this command I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky...nor is it across the sea... No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."
What a perfect prelude to our Gospel of today -- Luke 10:25-37. We all know the parable of the "Good Samaritan" who stopped to tend the injured man lying by the side of the road on the way to Jericho. Others had passed him by, but the "foreigner, the unclean man" stopped and made sure the injured man received the care he needed.
The scholar who was testing Jesus restated the law saying "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." As Moses said, this command is not mysterious or remote. Yet the scholar persists and asks the key question "And who is my neighbor?"
That is a question we need to consider ourselves. It is so easy to be consumed with what is going on in our own lives. We are busy with our day to day issues, taking care of those things that seem to be so important to us. And indeed many of these things are important. BUT, do we take heed of those around us? Do we notice those around us who are "robbed"? Those who need a kind word, a smile, a hug, a prayer, financial help, spiritual sustenance? Sometimes it is easy for me to "not hear" that request for help, to delay a response, ignoring or postponing what I should do.
The question "And who is my neighbor" is not to be taken lightly. Rather we are to "Go and do likewise." What we do may be big or small, difficult or easy. The important thing is that we do something. It is for each of us to recognize that "neighbor in need" and do what we can to be the hands, feet and heart of God.
May we each be a blessing to one another!