Homily for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
heme: “A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:25, 27)
By: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
Homily for Sunday July 14 2019
“A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama. Then, she asked the class, ‘If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?’ A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, ‘I think I’d throw up.’” (Original source unknown)
As today we hear the same gospel passage that elicited such an honest response from that little girl in the Sunday school class, we’re inclined to ask ourselves the same question put to her by the teacher: What would I do? And we may well have to face the disturbing truth that our response may not be so very different from the little girl’s.
But there’s so much more to the story than that. We Christians, who profess wanting to inherit eternal life, have a multitude of opportunities day by day to care for those who are in danger of falling by the roadside. Indeed, the story Jesus presents in today’s gospel passage is but a metaphor for a world ever in need of a helping hand—a hand we can give as we see a family member, a friend, a neighbor tottering on unsteady feet. Why wait for someone to fall into a ditch bruised and bloodied before we respond? If we but open our eyes and ears to others, we can often catch them before they bite the dirt. Surely, this is an implied lesson today’s gospel offers us. If we want to inherit eternal life, we must open our hearts and minds to the world around us and, seeing a need to which we are able to respond, just do it. It’ll save a lot of people from landing in ditches.
St. Luke writes, “A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:25, 27) Then the slick young lawyer asks the big question: Who is my neighbor? And, of course, we know from the story Jesus offers us this day that everyone on this planet is my neighbor. And, even more, every neighbor is Jesus himself.
Not long ago we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, a feast whose primary focus is that God comes to us under the appearance of bread and wine. And if it be true that we become what we eat, then surely we who partake of the Eucharist become God-like as we walk the earth. But to be God-like does not allow for any posing on pedestals; rather, it demands a response from us that, by the standards of the world, may seem quite unreasonable, crazy even! Indeed, while communion with God is to meet him in the sharing of bread and wine, today’s gospel clearly reminds us that God also comes to us under the appearance of human need, and communion with him occurs when we respond to human need. Yes, bread, wine and neighbor! Each is where we most intimately meet our creator.
“A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 10:25) A Sunday school teacher asked her young student what she would do if she saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding. And Jesus responds to both: “I want you to inherit eternal life! So come be with me in the communion of bread and wine. Come be with me in the communion of care of your neighbor. Come be with me!