“What is written in the law?”

“What is written in the law?”

A basic principle of Catholic moral teaching asserts that within the human heart is a divine law that commands us to love.   This weekend readings are a reminder of this teaching.  As Christians, we are called to love God and love neighbor.  We are called to extend our love to all we meet.  The scholar of the law from the Gospel of Luke was worried about what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus surprises him by answering with a question: “What is written in the law?”  The lawyer answered correctly when he named love as the law.  Law is not about keeping rules or even organizing ourselves, but about loving others.  And, above all, love is about relationships.  Eternal life is not inherited by keeping laws, but by caring for others and treating them with mercy.  Love is nothing less than the unconditional gift of self.  As followers of Jesus, we are to love, care for, and have mercy on others as he did: giving ourselves entirely. 

This weekend gospel invites us to place our self-sacrificing to meet the needs of others in the larger context of love.  Love is made concrete in our care for others.  Jesus makes explicit what is the purpose of the law and it seems so simple:  to love God and neighbor.  Yet the kind of love Jesus describes through the parable of the Good Samaritan is anything but simple.  It requires of us the unconditional gift of self.  Jesus said to the lawyer and us, “Go and do likewise.”  Jesus is telling us that compassion can work miracles.  It can make neighbors out of enemies.  It can bring together those who thought that any neighborliness was impossible.  It can even enable us to love our enemies, as Jesus did.  Jesus challenges us to act as Good Samaritans to one another.  He challenges us to think of the person in our lives from whom we are most alienated.  Think of that person as a fellow human being, as a fellow soul redeemed by Christ, as someone, not something.  Our burden and privilege as Christians are to be held to the very highest standards of conduct in thought, word, and deed.  So when it comes to imitating the Good Samaritan, we all have a long way to go.  We cannot love as God does by our own power.  We need the help of Christ.  If we want to love this way, we must seek him every day of our lives.  

Peace!

Deacon Modesto Cordero