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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Reflection/Homily: Fifteenth (15th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C (July 14 2013)

Reflection/Homily: Fifteenth (15th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C (July 14 2013)
Theme: The Exemplary Lawmaker

One of the things necessary for the progress of any given society or community of persons is the existence of law. Law is believed to be a system of rules and regulations guiding a society or a group of people. For proper application of the law, a proper interpretation of the law by experts and proper understanding of the law by the subjects of the law are required. That is why in a democratic society, there are those who make the law (Legislature), those who interpret the law (Judiciary) and those who execute the law (executive). Since every society is a community of persons affiliated to a divine authority who is also a lawmaker, Christians believe that God is the maker of divine laws. These divine laws are believed to be commandments given by God for the regulation of all men and they transcend the limitations of geography or religion. 

In the first reading (Deut. 30:10-14) Moses addresses the issue of interpreting these divine laws for proper understanding and application. He makes the Israelites understand that in divine laws, God gives, interprets and executes the law. He urges them to obey the laws he has communicated to them. The function of human agents is to communicate and disseminate the message of the law. The language of divine laws is one anybody can understand such that one does not need an interpreter. They are clear and simple. The interpretations are found in the dictates of our consciences since it is generally believed that the conscience is the voice of God in us. 

These divine laws as given by God are contained in the Word of God. At a point in history, this Word of God became manifest in human form in the Son of God who the second reading (Col. 1:15-20) identifies as the image of the invisible God. Thus, in Christ we have the giver of divine laws present. In the gospel reading (Luke 10:25-37) we find a teacher of the law coming to question the giver of the law on the means of eternal life. From their discourse on what the law says, Christ diverts the attention of the man from the identity of a neighbour to becoming a neighbour to anyone in need with the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus talks about becoming a good neighbour not just to those who share geographical or religious boundaries with us but to anyone in need of our help. In this way, Christ teaches us to reach out even to those we consider as our enemies in so far as the means to attend to their needs are within our reach. As a teacher, Jesus taught more with examples than with words and in his life, we can allegorically identify him as the Good Samaritan. The man journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho represents humanity in her journey from the baptismal font to the mundane world. The robbers represent the attack of the devil and sin on the soul robbing it of divine grace and living it almost spiritually dead.

The priest represents divine laws which indicate that at the time before Christ, divine laws had no room for sinners. That was why most sinners died immediately. The Levite represents human laws which indicate that at that time still, the society had no mercy for sinners. That was why those caught in sin were stoned to death. Jesus then comes as the good shepherd, though the despised one represented in the Samaritan. The water and oil represent the water and blood with which he washed our sins and restored life to our wounded human nature. His donkey represents the cross, the inn represents the Church and the innkeeper represents the leaders of the Church. The two coins he deposited represent the Word of God and the Sacraments which are two essential things needed to enhance our salvation. His promise of return in parallel to the parousia.

Now, Jesus’ injunction to go and do likewise is therefore an invitation to imitate him in his boundless love. There are those who have really dealt with us but at one time or the other we find ourselves in positions to help them. Today’s message is therefore a challenge to offer people our help despite the relationship or gap that exist between us. Jesus introduces us into a new boundary of neighborhood that includes strangers and those who do not appeal to our sense of charity. This new boundary therefore makes us obliged to help them as long as we are able without considering their nationality, religion or even denomination. Do not practice selective-charity or close your eyes to the needy. Always offer your help unconditionally. God loves you.

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