July 10, 2016 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Those which seek, find; just as those that do not ask, never hear.

Have you ever challenged authority? Not just to be controversial, but to point out either your beliefs or understandings may be different than others’? Sometimes, if we’re honest with ourselves when the answer is given, we learn that our beliefs which lead to the challenges were incorrect. But we also learn and become better, because we have sought the answer and the truth! The key though, is to not challenge to be spiteful or indignant, but truly open to receiving truth. Those which seek, find!

The same things occur in the Bible. Wise men seek truth and answers over merely accepting because another offers without facts or evidence. Sometimes though, the seeker does so with a condescending tone and is shown the way, the truth and the light in perfect form by Jesus.

In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10:25-37, a scholar seeks answers from Jesus in the way to inherit eternal life. When Jesus asks the scholar what he believes the path looks like, he responds with Christ Jesus’ spoken message of: “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.” Jesus told the scholar, “You have answered correctly,” meaning the teachings provided clearly outline the pathway which must be followed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now, the scholar then wanted to justify himself in his daily life, decisions, attitude and path by saying or questioning Jesus with this: “And who is my neighbor?”

Can you imagine what Jesus must have felt when the scholar posed this question? He must have felt He had somewhat failed in His attempts at explaining and creating a desire to spread love of one another by all because of the lack of understanding of the true meaning by the question being asked. But, instead of chastising, Jesus did as he always does: He loved the scholar and taught him by sharing a story.

He offered the scholar this beautiful example of neighborly love: “A man fell victim to robbers…They stripped and beat him and left him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite passed…But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them…he then took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day, he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”

The scholar responded: The one who treated him with mercy. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

That…is…POWERFUL!!! Jesus put a modern smack-down on the scholar without physically harming him! He taught the scholar by sharing the mission of Christ’s desire for all of us. To his credit, the scholar humbly acknowledged and learned from the lesson.

You see, Christ Jesus does not play favorites or look at one of us as greater than the other. Our “neighbors” are intended by Christ to be looked upon, cared for and loved by each of us equally, regardless of their physical, emotional or spiritual closeness to us, our beliefs or locations. Our neighbor is not merely the elderly man across the street whom we wave to, cut the grass for or help with groceries. Our neighbor is the man who attacks our beliefs, way of life and families. We must love thy enemy as we love ourselves…as we love our next-door neighbor.

If we all follow what Christ asks of each of us – to love and care for one another regardless of race, religion, background, beliefs or sins – there would be no more hate, suffering or violence in the world.

Where do we begin with this? How do we make this love offering spread? When do we show it? It starts with each of us individually. We cannot control what others do, how they think, act or believe, but we can love and care for them anyway. We can be His vessels to spread His message from person to person, door to door, city to city and throughout the world, but – we must do it. Each of us. Do not judge someone else for not showing this love, pray for them. Do not question why someone does something, love them anyway. Do not pass the man injured in the streets, care for him. You be the example. You be the hands and feet of Christ for others.

Spread God’s love by being His vessel. Love one another as He has loved you.

May the peace, love and presence of Christ Jesus be upon and within each of you today and always.

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