Saturday, July 10, 2010

15th Sunday…. Continuing the Search

The three scripture readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time serve as key to helping contemporary folks in what has to be one of the challenges in life that can easily be set aside "until I am much older."  What is that challenge?  How do I inherit eternal life, the kingdom of God?  That search is easily put aside until later because there are many other encounters that clearly suggest a "try it later approach."  It seems to be much like the long-time favorite:  "It will get better with time."  Ask an older friend this question:  "Does it get any easier as you have grown older, this "search for eternal life, the kingdom of God?"  Many of the folks I have asked tend to talk about it as more difficult.
The gospel story of the Good Samaritan is a fine example of how challenging it can be to live the one commandment that is far and above all the others:  "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."  The priest failed.  The Levite likewise missed the opportunity.  The Pauline reading from the Colossian letter speaks of the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ.  The Deuteronomy reading speaks of the closeness of the word of God.

So what meaning can we pull from these readings? What are issues that confront our families and friends today?  Honesty: what we encounter today may shatter the trust we attempt to build in our lives toward others.  Morality: society seems so relaxed.  Faith:  "my" religion vs. the teachings of my Church.

Deuteronomy, known also as the Book of the Law, encourages us to hear what Moses said about maintaining a close relationship to God.  But, some asked obviously, "How can I find him?"  Moses is clear:  you don't have to look to the sky, nor out into the sea.  You have that questioned answered in what is very close to us:  the Word of God, written for us in the Bible, the Commandments and for us since the time of Jesus in teachings of the Church.

In short the question is "How can I gain heaven in this confused and complex world of ours?"  It is so different from the days of Moses.  The temptation is to succumb to an "I'll do it my way."  Others might accept a "Hope for the best" attitude.  Those older folks mentioned earlier say these two attitudes are truly temptations ... the easy way to resolve the issues ... but for sure they will not work!

Read again, now, the words of St. Paul to the ColossiansChrist Jesus is the image of the invisible God....For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those (things) on earth or those (things) in heaven."