15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Loving Our Neighbor

07-03-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

Lk 10:2537

The Gospel this Sunday is famously known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan is the one who looked with compassion upon a stranger and treated him with mercy. The action of the Samaritan should be a way of life; that sees everyone, especially those in need, with compassion. For compassion to work in us, we need to remove the focus on ourselves, our concerns and desires, and be sensitive to our surroundings and the people around us. Once we overcome our indifference to our neighbor, we come up against another challenge, doing something to help those in need.

Christian activism is doing something for someone, not just empathizing, but doing good work that supports our words. Christianity is praying but also asking ourselves: Does our faith produce good deeds? Going back to the parable: Do we act as a neighbor who treats a stranger with mercy and compassion, or are we just a passerby. The parable’s message is clear: The true essence of the Law is to love God and neighbor. For Jesus, there is a natural connection between the two if we love God, then we must love our neighbor. The way to concretize the Love of God is through the love of neighbor. The full expression of our love for God. If we say we love God; and do not love our neighbor, then we are lying.

The basis for this kind of love is God loving us by showing mercy and compassion even before He created us. In the Parable of the Forgiving Master (Mt. 18:2135), the king pardoned all the debts of his servant, who could not pay. On the contrary, the forgiven servant showed no mercy for another servant who owed him a much lesser debt. Before God, we are all terrible sinners, but He still reaches out and cares for us. God saves us when we are afflicted and in pain. He causes the hearts of the lowly ones who seek His forgiveness to be joyful.The Lord hears the cry of the poor; blessed be the Lord.

Jesus is the Good Samaritan in the many unknown people who go out of their way to help others in their time of need. He acts with compassion for every soul in need, and He also saves us. It is not enough that we know the commandment of love; we need to translate it into mercy and compassion for the poor and the needy. One day, when we face God, He will tell us the people we met who needed help:That was me. Pray to see Jesus in every person that we meet. Pray for the grace to move us into action to help a neighbor in need. A scholar of the Law asks Jesus how to attain eternal life. Jesus answers by saying not through words but concrete service. Our prayers, profession of faith, and sacraments are all necessary, but equally important is our love of neighbor through genuine service. There is a saying:They say little who loves much. Those who love their neighbor need not say much but do it. Let us praise God for the many “hidden figures” who do acts of love without fanfare, without any personal agenda; and without expecting recognition or reward.Lord, remind us that word matters, but love in action matters more.