Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our actions have a tongue of their own; they have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds prove the lover more than words.

Gospel Text: (LK 10:25-37)
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law?
How do you read it?"
He said in reply,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself."
He replied to him, "You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live."

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
"And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied,
"A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
'Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.'
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers' victim?"
He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy."
Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

We are blessed to live in a world where, when there is a disaster or emergency, generous people open their hearts and wallets and roll up their sleeves to help those in their communities or around the world. But helping your neighbor, loving your neighbor as yourself is something we can do every day, not just when disaster strikes. Loving our neighbor is how we respond when the older retired man who always wants to talk and talk for a long time is in his yard when we are walking the dog. Do we quickly go the other way? Or do we stop and talk and spend time with our neighbor? Loving our neighbor is how we respond when the young parents with two small squirmy children sit next to us on a plane. Do we have to roll our eyes and make harried parents feel even worse? Or can we smile and offer those parents a little respite?

These everyday actions are not, perhaps, the source of parables or headlines. I believe we can all be good Samaritans by doing the small things everyday for our neighbors. In the Gospel, Jesus tells the scholar that if we follow the commandments to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves that we will live. If we follow those commandments in ways big and small, what a life we will have.

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