The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pondering the Word (No. 5)

Sometimes we can make religion too complicated. Following God's will for our lives, Moses says in today's first reading (Deuteronomy 30:10-14) is not something "too mysterious or remote for you." God's will for us, he says, is "already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."

In the Gospel reading (Luke 10:25-37), a scholar would rather quibble and justify himself than pay heed to such a simple instruction regarding what he must do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus asks him what his understanding amounts to, the scholar replies: "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."

Bingo, Jesus says (essentially).

But that's not good enough for this questioner. He presses: "And who is my neighbor?"

Jesus responds by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan that we know so well. Which of the people in the story, he asks, "was neighbor to the robbers' victim?"

Again, the scholar gives the glaringly obvious answer: "The one who treated him with mercy."

To, this, Jesus simply says, "Go and do likewise." Nothing complicated about that. Love God above all else, know God's love for you, and treat others as you would like to be treated--indeed, as you desire God to treat you, with mercy.

As God's creatures made in his image, mercy is already in our hearts. We have only to carry it out. "Do this and you will live."

Who is your neighbor? The answer, most likely, is right in front of you.

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