YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: GOD’S COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT MYSTERIOUS
BY: Very Rev. Fr. John Louis
HOMILY: READINGS: Deuteronomy 30:10-14 / Colossians 1:15-20 / Luke 10:25-37
According to today’s readings, the commandments of God are neither mysterious nor remote. They are within our reach and understanding; and they are summed up in the command to love God and our neighbour.
THE COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT MYSTERIOUS
Some teachers of Mathematics make the subject so mysterious in their attempt to impress their students. Such teachers end up discouraging many of their students from showing interest in the subject. God is not like such teachers. Rather, He is like the good Mathematics teacher who knows the difficulty of students and so takes His time to simplify issues for them. To use another illustration, God is like the mother hen who breaks down grains for the easy consumption of its chicks. Thus, to communicate to us, God does not use a spiritual or divine language which we cannot understand, but a simple human language. Hence, Moses wrote that the commandment of God is not too mysterious for us to understand (Deut. 30:11; first reading).
THEY ARE NOT REMOTE FROM US
Furthermore, according to Moses, God’s commandments are not remote from us: they are not across the sea for us to worry about who would travel across to obtain them for us. Neither are they up in the sky for us to worry about who would go up there to obtain them for us (Deut. 30:11-13).
Neither is God asking us to do the impossible thing of travelling to heaven to obtain His Word. On the contrary, He has sent us His Word– “Christ Jesus… the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; second reading) – who brings us the fullness of God’s message of salvation. What a loving God who always simplifies issues for us! Moses could, therefore, say that the Word of God is something very near to you, already in your months and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out (Deut. 30:14).
THE TWIN COMMANDMENT
According to the gospel reading, God’s Word, which is near us and is in our hearts, is summed up as love – love of God and love of neighbour.
LOVE OF GOD
Jesus says that we are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole strength and our whole mind. To love him with:
* our whole heart – means with all our will
* our whole soul – means with our very life
* our whole strength – means with all our work and wealth
* our whole mind – means with all our intellect / thoughts / reasoning
Thus. to love the Lord with our whole heart, whole soul, whole strength and whole mind, simply means to love him with our whole being and not just a part of our being.
LOVE OF NEIGHBOUR
However, as long as we live on this earth, our love of God is insufficiently expressed until we love our neighbour. Who, then, is our neighbour? Jesus answers this question by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the parable, a Samaritan took care of a needy Jew, who would otherwise have been considered an enemy. By this parable, therefore, Jesus teaches us that a neighbour is any needy person, regardless of his/her race, nationality, tribe, clan, religion, etc. To what extend do we help the needy?
Secondly, in the parable, the Jewish priest and Levite were expected to have helped the dying Jew. This means that our kinsmen or relatives are also our neighbours. Are we helping our needy nephew, nieces, aged parents, etc.? Have we denied ourselves some luxury and some legitimate needs to, for instance, pay for the fees of some needy relatives?
The commandments of God are truly neither mysterious nor remote from us. They are summed up in the commandments to love God and our neighbor. These twin commandments are like the two wings of a bird. And as much as a bird cannot fly on only one wing, so we cannot claim to love God while we hate our neighbour. Therefore, beloved, let us sustain our flight to heaven on the two wings of love of God and neighbour. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis