God Is Close To Us: In His Word and in Our Neighbor
Readings: (1st: Dt 30, 10-14; Ps: 68; 2nd: Col 6, 1, 15-20 Gos: Lk 10, 25-37)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this 15th Sunday of Ordinary time we celebrate the God who is close to us both in His Word and in our neighbor. As the image of the unseen God, and as the Good Samaritan, Christ is close to us in all circumstances of life. So, the church urges us to acknowledge the presence of God both in his Word, and in our neighbor.
Our first reading is part of the farewell message, and final instruction of Moses to his people. This message underscores the importance of abiding with God through his Word. That is, living according to his commandments in the scriptures. Through this reading Moses reminds us that God is alive and active, and ever close to us in his Words: “… For this Law is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach…”
We must therefore seek Him in the scriptures by asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our mind. We are also called to obey and to live by the Word because, it is the source of life. God has fully revealed himself to us in his Word, and only those who make frantic efforts will find him. Hence, today’s responsorial psalm admonishes us: “Seek the Lord, and your hearts will revive.” The easiest way to be intimate with God is by living his Word.
In the second reading, Paul also reminds us of how close God is to us. Through His son Jesus Christ, (“the invisible image of the unseen Father”), God came to dwell among us. God spoke his Word, and He became real among us. Paul draws our attention to the fact that God decided to dwell with us through Jesus Christ so that we might be reconciled through Him. Also, the church as the body of Christ, is His is visible presence with us.
In the gospel, Jesus directed the young man to the scriptures. By doing this, Jesus tries to let him understand that, God could be found in his Word which is close to him. To love God therefore is to love his Word. He further buttressed this by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. The Word of God is personified in the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel. The word of God is Jesus himself, who speaks to us, and Jesus who is ever close to us like the Good Samaritan.
Today’s gospel also presents to us another way through which God is Close to us. That is, in our neighbor. As a humble master, he is always available to us in simple ways and things. He is close to us in the scriptures, in the poor, in the just, in the pious, in the marginalized, in the sick, and in the weak. Like the Good Samaritan, if we search for God in these we will find Him. The good Samaritan saw God in the victim, and so was moved to help him.
The Good Samaritan represents those who seek Christ in the weak, wounded, and the poor. He also represents Christ who himself is a Good Samaritan per excellence. He is quick to come to our help when we are weak, despised, and abandoned. He is ever ready to help us to recover from our injuries, and He is so close to take care, and to heal us. Hence, the Psalmist asks: “…What great nation is there that has it gods so close to it as the LORD, our God….?” (Dt 4, 7).
Peace be with you!