HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: “Go and do Likewise”
BY: Fr Anthony C Ohaekwusi
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 10 2022
Why do we have laws and why must we obey them? Are they made only to control, command and entrap people? Think of the Covid safety rules and their enforcement during the pandemic; was it just about control? What about traffic rules; are they only there to mandate what is right and condemn what is wrong? Why are there traffic police, speed traps and cameras to check and punish offenders? But if laws are only useful for preventing and punishing bad behaviour in society, how can they be relevant in the world of good people?
A man took a taxi to the airport to catch up with his flight because he was late. The taxi driver decided to speed up, unconcerned about the police or cameras. He warned the driver to slow down so they wouldn’t be intercepted by the police. The man, however, replied: “Don’t worry, I have an app that tells me if the police are on the road”. Some say laws are meant to be broken. So why do we need laws when we can find a way around them?
Laws are created to strengthen human relationships and maintain order in our lives. They remind us of the presence of others in society, that we are not alone in the world, to live carelessly as we please. Therefore, every law must have a human face to affect people’s lives. So how we interpret laws determines how well we apply them to others.
To the moral question “what must I do?” Jesus replied with a question: “how do you read / interpret it?” This is because the rules of good living are always available, but we can only act rightly if we interpret them as personal reflections of goodness, rather than as regulatory limitations on our personal freedoms. Morality is better realised not by adhering to a set of external codes, but by responding to that special feeling that makes us look towards God and one another with great value and regard, moving us to sacrifice joyfully our convenience, in order to let our common humanity take precedence.
This is what the Good Samaritan teaches us. The lawyer who questioned Jesus saw the law as a trap to disconcert him. But Jesus, in his parable, demonstrated that laws are precepts for being a good neighbour. The Levite and priests saw following the law as avoiding problems. But they forgot that the ultimate objective of law is goodness, and the law would lose its value if it enforced our diligence but did not condemn our negligence. Goodness is found in that ethical gaze towards another, in that silent voice that calls us to empathy, not apathy.
Remain lifted and do have a great Sunday
Fr Anthony C Ohaekwusi
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