Liturgy of the Sunday

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Muslims celebrate the Feast of the sacrifice (Aid-al-Adha).


First Reading

Deuteronomy 30,10-14

if you obey the voice of Yahweh your God, by keeping his commandments and decrees written in the book of this Law, and if you return to Yahweh your God with all your heart and soul. 'For this Law which I am laying down for you today is neither obscure for you nor beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, "Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we can hear and practise it?" Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, "Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we can hear and practise it?" No, the word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to put into practice.

Psalmody

Psalm 18

Antiphon

The word of the Lord is pure and everlasting.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.

Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night makes known the message.

No speech, no word,
no voice is heard

yet their span extends through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

There he has placed a tent for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his tent,
rejoices like a champion to run its course.

At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun;
to the furthest end of the sky is its course.
There is nothing concealed from its burning heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.

The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.

The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is holy, abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just.

They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb.

So in them your servant finds instruction;
great reward is in their keeping.

But who can detect all his errors?
From hidden faults acquit me.

From presumption restrain your servant
and let it not rule me.

Then shall I be blameless,
clean from grave sin.

May the spoken words of my mouth,
the thoughts of my heart,

win favour in your sight, O Lord,
my rescuer, my rock!

Second Reading

Colossians 1,15-20

He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, thrones, ruling forces, sovereignties, powers -- all things were created through him and for him. He exists before all things and in him all things hold together, and he is the Head of the Body, that is, the Church. He is the Beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that he should be supreme in every way; because God wanted all fullness to be found in him and through him to reconcile all things to him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, by making peace through his death on the cross.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 10,25-37

And now a lawyer stood up and, to test him, asked, 'Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?' He replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.' Jesus said to him, 'You have answered right, do this and life is yours.' But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?' In answer Jesus said, 'A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, "Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have." Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?' He replied, 'The one who showed pity towards him.' Jesus said to him, 'Go, and do the same yourself.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The question of the lawyer of the Law is about the meaning of life and salvation: "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" As many other times, Jesus answers him referring to Holy Scriptures. In this case Jesus recalls the very heart of the Law: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself." But that lawyer wanted to defend himself from this answer and asks, "And who is my neighbour?" Probably he wanted to put some limits to a love that did not anticipate them.
The parable of the good Samaritan becomes then a paradigm of how to walk every path of life and of the world. Jesus affirms the primacy of the love for the poor, for the "half-dead" whom we encounter every day. The road from Jerusalem down to Jericho represents the many roads in the world where violence has become globalised and there are many who are left alone, wounded and abandoned to themselves. Sadly, it is not only the number of half-dead that is high, but also the number of those who see and turn their heads away, like that priest and Levite. Jesus points to a priest and a Levite - and not just anyone - as examples of harshness in the face of the half-dead man to underline an unacceptable scandal: separating the love of God from the love of the poor.
Next to the half-dead man stops a Samaritan, an infidel, an idolater. However, unlike the priest and the Levite, as soon as he sees the half-dead man he feels compassion for him (the Greek word, splanchnizomai, means "to be touched to the insides"). It is the same term that the evangelist uses to describe the compassion that Jesus felt for the tired and exhausted crowds. The Samaritan then dismounted from his horse, approached the half-dead man, offered him first aid and then took him to the nearby inn. Many Christian generations have seen in that Samaritan Jesus himself who cares for us all, paying in person to save us. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He offers us not only the example, but his own compassion so that we too can be like that Samaritan in the ways of this world. It is the experience of the Church down the centuries and that of every community that is faithful to the Gospel. Jesus teaches us to stop beside the poor and to be moved by them. Just as the inn describes well the community of believers that becomes a true home where the disciples, like the innkeeper, take care of the poor. The exhortation to that innkeeper is addressed to each one of us: "Take care of him!" Just as those two denarii are his compassion that he gives us: a little is enough, like two denarii, to help and to heal. The text adds: "When I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend." It indicates that superabundance of love asked for the poor. At the end of the parable Jesus turns to the doctor of the Law and turns the question back on him: "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The doctor of the Law can only reply: The one who showed him compassion." And Jesus: "Go and do likewise." The Lord asks believers to make themselves neighbours, that is "the closest" to the poor, because it is with them that we will find eternal life.