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Homilies/Reflections

ABOUT ‘KNOWING’ AND ‘DOING.' A reflection for the 15th Sunday in the Ordinary Time, Year C.
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sun, 14 Jul 2019

 Readings: Deut 30:10-14; Col 1:15-20; Lk 10:25-37.

In today’s Gospel, the Lawyer who stood up, hoping ‘to disconcert’ Jesus, may have had the wrong disposition. Yet, his worry about tomorrow’s joy, lasting happiness and wholesome well-being – which we know as ‘eternal life’, wasn’t just one man’s worry. Every person worries about having unending life. We notice this very clearly in the many efforts made to preserve, sustain and nourish our lives.

My brothers and sisters, to every person asking about their own bliss and lasting well-being, Jesus now points out the way. This is in the sense that, Jesus’ Gospel challenge us to let the care, welfare and well-being of others stand as our standard for the measure. Thus, the deeply touching story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ read today become everyone’s example, pointing out the direction to be followed.  Like our bookman of the gospel, we all like to hear it over and again, just as we would like to centre on knowing just ‘who is my neighbour?’ Jesus leads us to the fullest answer.

But beyond merely ‘knowing’ what is good and deeper than learning that ‘my neighbour’ is ‘anyone in need’; Jesus does something more.  By reaching out to salvation history across the more than one thousand years between him and Moses, Jesus point out that there is an unbroken provision! That God’s will for his people has been revealed! Thus, his inquires: ‘What is written for you already? How have you read it? Whose interpretation do you follow...?’ Then, Jesus’ final insistence: ‘Go and do the same yourself (Lk 10: 26, 28)’.

The effect of today’s Gospel lessons should help us to be always wary of those who would spend the best of their brains, drumming on how ‘impossible’ it is to live our faith in God. Jesus exhorts us to stand firm and dismantle the often, superimposed ambiguities of today against the Gospel and against what God has revealed – as if the will of God were hidden to us. Quite clearly, Jesus that God’s will is revealed, can be known, obeyed and followed. This is also remarkably clear in the Lawyer who, by himself, today, answered all the inquiries that he ‘stood up’ and presented before Jesus.

More so, today, we are joined in the hearing and reading of Moses, the great teacher of Israel. The Hebrews call this book, ‘elleh haddebarim – i.e. ‘These are the words’ already spoken to you (i.e. in desert experiences of the Exodus). Thus, this second law or deutero-nomos are now re-iterated and repeated; identifying, what God’s will is for you. Indeed, true to this book, working hard to carry out God’s word, already given us, still holds the key into the true and lasting happiness: ‘Obey the voice of the Lord your God’; and ‘keep his Commandments’ enjoined on you today (Deut 30:10)!

Jesus’ coming therefore, renews God’s word and will in the Gospel, reminding us how, the ‘today’ of Moses extends to ‘every time’ this Scripture is read or heard. The lesson, therefore, has not changed: ‘What is revealed in the Scriptures? In other words: ‘Go back’ to the basics and ‘return to the drawing board of what God has provided for the good life’. We can’t claim God’s will is old, out fashioned, overtaken or out-dated: It is indeed renewed in Jesus and it is therefore, made fresh every morning!

No time is wrong, and no situation is odd for attending to the demands of ‘love of God and neighbour’. No profession, title or privilege excuses anyone from taking the risks which the love of God and love of neighbour commands. Jesus sends us back to what we think we know already but reminds us that, ‘knowing’ is not enough. Jesus’ concern is very clear: What are you doing with what you know? Passing-by from a different side to avoid lending a hand is, for whatever reason indeed, a bad witness. So, yes! Jesus sends every person back to God’s will, which has already been revealed and renewed; and which alone brings fulfilment to a person’s life. Like the Lawyer of today’s inquiry, the worldly wise may try to front, ridicule or question faith-provisions. It changes nothing from what is there for us.

But, with teachers like St Paul, we will remain focused on Jesus who is for us, the ‘image of the invisible God…’ With Paul, we will continue to accept that ‘everything created on earth or in heaven; visible and invisible’, are to be reconciled through Christ, who made the peace for us by his death on the cross (Col 1:15, 20). To him be glory for ever!

 

 

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