From the pastor’s desk
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time– Year C– Reform your lives by the power of God’s Word.
The liturgy brings us into the period of 640 BC to 609 BC during the reforms of the righteous king of
Judah, King Josiah. The priests renovating the temple of Jerusalem found a book which was read to the
king. The book was so inspirational that it became the basis of King Josiah’s Deuteronomic reforms. This
was considered as the second book of the law with words spoken by Moses, the law-giver from Sinai before they entered the Promised Land. Josiah’s reforms consisted of removing pagan altars and idols from the
Temple, destroying rural sanctuaries and fertility cults, and centralizing worship at the Temple of Jerusalem.
The book of Deuteronomy upholds the importance of God’s Word and the blessings that will accompany
its observances. That is why we hear Moses speak to us: “ if only you heed the voice of the Lord, your
God and keep his commandments and statutes…(Deut 30:10).” For the Israelites, the Word of God is the
expression of his Will in the commandments and statutes that He has given to them, written down. In
actual fact, it is the whole of his revealed Word or positive revelation made to the Patriarchs in the
Jewish Scriptures. The observance of the whole word of God assures eternal life. That is why a teacher
of the law asked Jesus what he must do to inherit everlasting life. Jesus leads him through a question, to
answer it with the “Shema:” “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your strength, and with all your mind: and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).”
For an average Israelite, the neighbor is the person next door, or a fellow Israelite. In answering the question
about who is one’s neighbor, Jesus revolutionizes who one’s neighbor should be. With the Parable of the
Good Samaritan, he shows that good neighborliness should cut every geographical boundaries, ethnicities,
racial divides, etc. It is universal and extends to all God’s children in need. It must be in imitation of Christ who came for the salvation of the whole world. He came to become selfless and places himself at the service of those who have become victims of bandits of Satan, Sin and Death, in order to rescue them and restore
them to good health of living once more in the image and likeness of God. Jesus uses his own example to
teach us to go and do likewise. The divine mission of Jesus Christ is that of love, compassion and mercy.
The Good Samaritan freely chose to help a stranger even when he was not legally obligated to do so.
We should do so by showing mercy to others. Mercy brings us to respect all the rights of our neighbor,
his freedom and self-determination. It makes us to help in everything that is necessary for a neighbor’s
social and spiritual life. Love leads us to solidarity with our neighbor. It leads us to forgiveness of offences
and overcoming religious or social discrimination.
St. Paul in our second reading invites us, those created in the image and likeness of God, to look up to
Christ. He is the image of the invisible God. This ancient hymn to the Lordship of Jesus in creation and
in the church is in praise of Christ as the image of the fullness of Divinity, Christ as the first-born of all
creation, and Christ’s cross as the reconciling agent of all creation. It praises Jesus Christ in whose Body,
the Church, the suffering humanity is brought in to be healed and reconciled back to God, just as the
Good Samaritan brought the victim of the robbers to be nursed back to health in an inn
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD