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Theology for the common man

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Sunday, July 14, 2019

"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, ” those words are a prescription from Jesus for a good and happy life for today and through all eternity. Because everyone who has God in his life can be the happiest man no matter in what conditions he lives. There is nothing strange in this sentence because we know that it is the essence of all Christianity. However, those words are an answer of Jesus to the question posed by the scholar of the law, asking about the way to inherit eternal life. And he didn’t expect to find the answer in the Law of the Old Testament, where those words come from. It was a kind of shock for the scholar because he didn’t expect the answer to be so close to him in his own Jewish tradition. He just asked Jesus about it trying to catch him in some error, to have a reason to accuse him later on. Meanwhile the answer was in the scholar's hand concerning the commandment of love of God and neighbor, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy. There is also nothing strange in that answer because those commandments were not common in the Old Testament, they were forgiven in the Old Testament spirituality; and even if the Book of Deuteronomy assured that the word of God is so close to the human heart and soul that no one could excuse himself not having the possibility to reach it. Excuse of the scholar, asking about a definition of the word “neighbor” permitted Jesus to give him a good descriptive lesson of the true love of the others. It appears that all that matters is the sensitiveness to the misery of a poor man who fell victim to robbers. He wasn’t attendant by anyone from the religious authority (priest and Levite) who passed on the opposite side of the road, so not to help him, and only a foreigner, a traveler from Samaria helped him: “poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged him, took him to an inn, and cared for him”, giving money to the innkeeper for taking care of him later. This narration was an explicit slap at face to the Old Testament spirituality that lost a spirit of love. Jesus asks his listener and through him to everyone following the example of that Samaritan, and then we could be sure we are on the way to happiness.