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 Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Today, the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we celebrate the God who is close to us, in His word and our neighbor. As the image of the unseen God and the Good Samaritan, Christ is close to us in all life circumstances. So, the church urges us to acknowledge the presence of God both in his word and in our neighbors.
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, active, and ever close to us in his word, “For this Law is not beyond your strength or your reach.”
Therefore, we must seek Him in the scriptures by asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our minds (Eph 1:18). We are also called to obey and 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 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. So, Paul reminds us that God decided to dwell with us through Jesus Christ in other to reconcile us with himself.
In the gospel, Jesus directed the young man to the scriptures. By doing this, Jesus tries to let him understand that we can find God in his Word, which is close to him. Therefore, to love God 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, poor, just, pious, marginalized, sick, and 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 needy. He represents those who are mindful of their neighbors and the wounded. Also, he represents Christ, who is always quick to come to our help when we are weak, despised, and abandoned. He is ever ready to help us recover from our injuries. He is so close to taking care of and healing us. Hence, the Psalmist asks, “What great nation has its gods so close to it as the Lord, our God?” (Dt 4:7).
Peace be with you!