Go and Do Likewise

Readings for Sunday, July 14 — Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 19:8-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37

  • Moses, who has led his people out of bondage and through the desert, will not reach the Promised Land, and he knows this. In one of his final exhortations of the people of God, he assures them that a life in right relationship with God is not so difficult or remote or cryptic. The answers they seek are already in their own mouths and issue from their own hearts. They just need to do it. We often know the right thing to do, so why is it so hard to carry out what we know in our hearts?
  • The psalmist proclaims that the law of God is far more precious than gold and far sweeter than honey. Most of us are unaccustomed to thinking of laws in such a positive light. How does God’s law refresh the soul and rejoice the heart, as the psalm suggests?
  • Today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke includes the story of the Good Samaritan. To those listening to Jesus tell this story, the phrase Good Samaritan would have been an oxymoron. Jesus points out that the priest and the Levite — two men especially adept at following the law — do nothing to aid the dying man (perhaps for fear of becoming ritually impure). Jesus illustrates that mercy and compassion and recognition of the stranger as our neighbor are more excellent ways to follow God’s law. He commands us to go and do likewise. Do we sometimes let our religious scrupulousness get in the way of showing God’s boundless mercy and compassion to those in need?