15th Sunday in Ordinary Time C THE DOUBLE PRECEPT OF CHARITY: LOVE GOD WITH OUR ENTIRE BEINGAND OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELF
- God’s commandment is not something external, outside of ourselves; rather, it is within us and we can recognize God’s commandments if we have an upright conscience.
- But God also expects our free correspondence. It is up to our use of freedom whether to accept or reject God’s will and commandments every time we discern them in our conscience. We must strive to live His commandments out of love, and not out of fear.
- Note that THERE IS A HIERARCHY AND ORDER IN THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS CONSTITUTING THE DOUBLE PRECEPT OF CHARITY: BEFORE AND ABOVE EVERYTHING COMES LOVING GOD IN HIMSELF; in the second place, and AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT, COMES LOVING ONE’S NEIGHBOUR, for God explicitly requires us to do so (1 Jn 4:21; cf. notes on Mt 22:34-40 and 22:37-38) and the latter is the thermometer of the former.
- The Commentary of the Navarre Gospels states: “In this moving parable, which only St Luke gives us, our Lord explains very graphically who our neighbour is and how we should show charity towards him, even if he is our enemy.
- Following other Fathers, St Augustine (De verbis Domini sermones, 37) identifies the good Samaritan with our Lord, and the waylaid man with Adam, the source and symbol of all fallen mankind. Moved by compassion and piety, he comes down to earth to cure man’s wounds, making them his own (Is 53:4; Mt 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Jn 3:5). In fact, we often see Jesus being moved by man’s suffering (cf. Mt 9:36; Mk 1:41; Lk 7:13). And St John says: “in this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, “not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn 4:9-11).
- THIS PARABLE LEAVES NO DOUBT ABOUT WHO OUR NEIGHBOUR IS — ANYONE (WITHOUT DISTINCTION OF RACE OR RELATIONSHIP) WHO NEEDS OUR HELP; NOR ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD LOVE HIM — BY TAKING PITY ON HIM, BEING COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS HIS SPIRITUAL and CORPORAL NEEDS. IT IS NOT JUST A MATTER OF HAVING THE RIGHT FEELINGS TOWARDS HIM: WE MUST DO SOMETHING, WE MUST GENEROUSLY SERVE HIM.”
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