YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “IMAGO DEI” (IMAGE OF GOD)
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
HOMILY: First reading – Deut. 30:10-14
Second reading – Col 1:15-20
Gospel – Lk. 10:25-37
Having his question about how to get into the kingdom of God thrown back to him by Jesus, the lawyer answered: “You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength; and your neighbor as yourself” This was the content of a prayer of the Jews called the Shema. The Shema was – found in Deut. 6:4. It was a prayer the Jews said two times daily, yet, they did not grasp the depth of its meaning. Little wonder then why the lawyer went on to ask Jesus: and who is my neighbor?
Explaining who our neighbor is, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The love of our neighbor here tells us a way by which we can love God whom we have never seen. God is spirit and cannot be seen. But we know that He created man in His own image. If you and I would ask Jesus like the lawyer, who is our neighbor, sure among the answers would include the person sitting next to you at this moment, the one you met along the road, your office colleague and so on. You show them any concern; you are doing that to God – Hymn: whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers……
Many times we do not realize that people need to see God in us since we are God’s image. John Rose once told this story. Just before Christmas, a little boy was wandering through a shopping complex and admiring the colorful displays of the Christmas gifts. A lady who watched him moving from one shop to another had guessed right that the lad had no money with which to make any purchase. She took the boy into one of the shops, and taking him round, she began explaining to him the meaning of Christmas. “God loves us”, she said “and to save us from our sins, He was born in a manger as a little babe.” She then bought a pair of new dress shoes, along with some Christmas gifts and lick-ups and refreshments for the poor lad. The little boy was thrilled. As the lady led him out of the shop, he looked at her and asked her, “Are you God?” “Oh No,” she replied” “I am only one of His children”. “Ah! Said the boy, “I knew that somehow you were related to him” The poor boy could not have got the story very well if the lady had not followed up with practical love of neighbor. The little boy saw the image of God in the lady. Whose image would those who encounter you see in you?