Reflection for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

by Fr Joseph Mafola

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In the first reading Moses says God’s law is within your own heart and it is easy to fulfil. We do not kill, we do not steal, and we do not bear false witness. All these are written in one’s heart. Everyone, young and old, learned or unlearned, rich or poor can fulfil God’s law. God gave us His commandments not for His own benefit but for ours; that is, out of love for us.

In the Gospel, a lawyer asked Jesus, “Master what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In his response Jesus’ answer is “what is written in the law. What do you read there?” The lawyer gave an answer quoting from both Deuteronomy and Leviticus; “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbour, as yourself.” Jesus concluded his parable by compelling the lawyer to draw the conclusion himself by asking him “which of the three, do you think proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandit’s hands”

The lawyer did not pronounce the word “Samaritan” and answered instead: “the one who took pity on him.” Jesus concluded both kindly and firmly: “Go and do the same yourself.” There is only one way to enter eternal life; love for one’s own neighbour. Every human being, your worst enemy included, is your neighbour.

The way to salvation is open to all, and all must pay the same price to obtain it: love of one’s neighbour. We daily come in contact with people wounded in body or in spirit who need our compassion. We must offer it generously without counting the cost. Jesus keeps on insistently repeating it to each one of us; “Go and do the same yourself.” Do it, rejoice; your salvation is assured.

To the Colossians, St Paul says, Jesus became man and reconciled us with God, through his death on the cross. Our reconciliation with God is the work of Jesus alone. He rose from the dead. In this regard he is the first among the many who, thanks to him, died in the Lord and have already risen to glory. He is not far form us, in fact he is the head of the Church, a body of which we, Christians are the members.

The Good Samaritan represents Jesus Christ who, reaching out in love, came to the rescue of the human race in its pitiful condition and healed our wounds by dying on the cross of Calvary. That act of love cost him his life. He expects us to stop and help those in need even though it will cost us time, trouble and expense. The Gospel is at pains to emphasise that there is no love of God without love of neighbour who is in distress.
All this is written in the book of Deuteronomy “The word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.” (Deut 30:14). In Luke Jesus says “Do this and you will live.” (Lk 10:28)