July 10, 2016
In difficult situations just what is God asking us to do?
This Sunday's readings help us to reflect on this...and it will take great courage to look deep within ourselves to face the answer.
Recall that God had given his people the Promised Land and everything went well until they began to turn to other gods and forgotten what God had done for them. Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple the dwelling place of God was destroyed, the people were taken into exile in Babylon. It was there in Exile that the people realized that they had forgotten God.
In the first reading was are told the story of how Moses told the Babylonian Exiles to be faithful to what God had given them when they first got out of their slavery in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land.
The Exiles were beginning to see that they had abandoned God and were now crying out to God, asking Him what do we have to do?
We can so easily be like these people in the story.
When all is going well we tend to forget about God and we turn to our idols to give us security, money, possessions, wealth, power etc.
Everyday God is asking us in every situation to return to Him. But exactly what is God asking us to do?
In the Gospel we hear that the scholar of the law asked Jesus that same question; what must I do?
And the scholar of the law gave the answer of the Shema.
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.
Then the scholar of the law goes on to ask Jesus; who is my neighbor?
Who is my neighbor???
We too often ask that same question, especially when we encounter a strange person, a person we do not know, a person that interrupts our plans and schedule. Who is my neighbor?
We may want to think that our neighbor is someone we like, someone who is not difficult, someone that we really want to help, someone who is not a reject, someone who lives a life style like our own, who sees things our way.
Every day we walk on our journey of life, and we will meet a neighbor in need.
Will we recognize the neighbor that God has put before us?
The problem is often times we are too busy with our own interest and we failed to recognize those many neighbors that we meet every day that are needing our prayer, our compassion, our patience, our willingness to listen, etc. That person, that neighbor may physically look normal, but they may well be deeply wounded and just need a caring person.
In the second reading St. Paul gives the Colossians and us an image of Jesus Christ. They and us are a part of making this Christ present in the world. We can see in that image that He calls each of us today to be a reflection, a presence of Christ for the world today.
Christ was able to endure insults, abusiveness, hard heartedness, disbelievers and even the enemies who crucified Him.
In the gospel we hear the story of the Good Samaritan
What do I have to do?
The answer is clear; become the good Samaritan.
Often times we will have to pray for the grace, the gift, to be able to do that.
We may also have to pray for the grace to be able to see that we do not always behave as the Good Samaritan and to thank God for showing us ourselves so we can repent.
Our prayer also needs to be for ourselves that wet be given the grace and courage to go out of my way for the other person, in spite of our plans, in spite of our inconveniences etc.