Sunday, July 14, is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C, Cycle I).
July 14 is St. Kateri's feast day.
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reduces the Christian life to the love of God and neighbor. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” asks a scholar. Jesus puts the question back to him and likes the answer he gets:
“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.”
Then he gives the classic lesson in loving one’s neighbor: the Good Samaritan.
In the story, the priest, a performer of elaborate prayers and rituals in the Temple, does not love his neighbor. The Levite, with his special status from birth and his prominent role in the community, does not love his neighbor. It is the Samaritan traveler, who is willing to give the basic care necessary, who loves his neighbor.
Being Christian doesn’t mean knowing the right things or being known by the right people. It means doing the right things out of love.
Moses warns in the first reading about looking in the wrong places for one’s vocation as a believer.
Said Moses: “This command that 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.”
The duties we have to each other are not hard to figure out; but that doesn’t mean they are easy to do.
And the great beauty of Christianity is that doing simple things puts us in touch with the glory and majesty of God.
Jesus spent the first decades of his life living at home helping his family and his family business. But if you ever need to remind yourself of the grandeur of this simple carpenter, today’s second reading is perfect:
“Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God. … In him were created all things in heaven and on earth. … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together … for in him the fullness was pleased to dwell.”
St. Paul paints a portrait of the unutterable glory of Christ that has never been topped. We can live a life united with that glory simply by living as he did, loving God and neighbor humbly.
Pray, work and do what you’re supposed to do. This is more than enough.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.