Reflection for Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (7/14/13)
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and not tried.
- G.K. Chesterton
With all respect to the good people at Nike, today’s first reading and Gospel share a common theme: Just Do It! Moses points out to the Israelites that God’s commands are “something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” Jesus echoes this sentiment after sharing the story of the Good Samaritan by imploring any who would follow him to “Go and do likewise.”
We love to rationalize and qualify God’s word to us. We can build up complicated theologies and interpretations to make the Gospel more manageable and less threatening. That’s not to say that we don’t need theology, but we can’t allow ourselves to hide behind our intellectual constructs and avoid the call to GO. We’re called to show mercy and kindness, especially to those who hate or revile us. We’re asked to be a light in the darkness. And we are being presented with more frequent opportunities to demonstrate this as our world, given over to the culture of death, becomes more emboldened in its contempt and hatred for God and his chosen ones.
If wars are won in the trenches then we must be mindful that our spiritual battle is being fought at the most basic levels. Remembering the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Motivated and dedicated to becoming a loving person, even to those who would despise us, is not an empty task. It is not too small a thing. We must remember Paul’s words to the Colossians that Jesus is in control; he holds everything together in his hands. We cannot be paralyzed by fear nor intimidated by the size of the challenge. We just need to start putting God’s love into practice in our lives in order to demonstrate it to those around us.