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Monday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

The first part of our gospel reading states the principle that should be at the heart of every one of our thoughts and actions. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

The second part contains an example of how that principle can be put into action - the Parable of the Good Samaritan. First the principle, then the application. The principles taught by Christ are not to be just learned, treasured, and then stored away like expensive jewelry in a safe deposit box. They are to be taken out and used. We are to apply the principles of Christ to each and every situation in our lives.

But Jesus was not the originator of this particular principle. It can be found in the Old Testament. (Dt 6:5; Lv. 19:18) And he didn’t merely want to put his seal of approval on it. He wanted to emphasize the importance of putting it into action if we are serious about attaining everlasting life in heaven. It can be assumed that the priest and the Levite were very familiar with this teaching. But it is one thing to know what God wants us to do, it is another to do it.

Jesus tells us to love God and our neighbor in action. There are neighbors all around us who need love and mercy. They have been beaten up and isolated economically, emotionally, physically, medically – and the pandemic and political crises have intensified the pain for many. Our challenge is to respond as a Good Samaritan. We need to offer help, even if we don’t like the political sign in our neighbor’s yard, if he has been intolerant about faith, race, or immigration, if she hasn’t thanked me for the last time I helped, if … You get the idea.

It can be easy to say the words about loving God with all heart, being, strength and mind, and loving a neighbor. With the parable, Jesus gives us an idea of what that means. Now go and do likewise.

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