God Close to Us

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Today we celebrate the God who is close to us both in His Word and in our neighbor. As the image of the unseen God, and as the Good Samaritan, Christ is close to us in all circumstances of life. So, the church asks us to acknowledge the presence of God both in his Word, and in our neighbor. Jesus teaches us through the parable of the Good Samaritan that God’s grace comes to us in all forms and through all kinds of people.

The first reading taken from the Book of Deuteronomy is one of the most consoling and joyful words given to the people. It was time for Moses to take leave of his people as he could not reach the Promised Land. He says to his people God is our life, hear the voice of God from the Law and to keep His Commandments, He tells them God is very near to them in the neighbors we shall encounter each day. When we act as neighbor to them, we act as neighbor to God Himself.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians. It tell us about the divinity of Jesus and that Jesus is the image of invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. All creation was in Him, through Him, and for Him. Since all is created in and through him, Christ is the center of Unity. Jesus is the full revelation of God, it is this Jesus who lives in us and in our neighbors. We love Jesus when we love our neighbors.

In today’s Gospel, a scribe asked Jesus a very basic religious question, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” In answer to the question, Jesus directs the scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures. Love God and express it by loving your neighbor.

God could be found in his Word which is close to him. To love God therefore is to love his Word. The Word of God is personified in the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel. The word of God is Jesus himself, who speaks to us, and Jesus who is ever close to us like the Good Samaritan.

The Gospel also presents to us another way through which God is close to us. That is, in our neighbor. As a humble master, he is always available to us in simple ways and things. He is close to us in the scriptures, in the poor, in the just, in the pious, in the marginalized, in the sick, and in the weak. Like the Good Samaritan, if we search for God in these, we will find Him. The Good Samaritan saw God in the victim, and so was moved to help him.

The Good Samaritan represents those who seek Christ in the weak, wounded, and the poor. He represents those who are mindful of their neighbors and those who are wounded. Also, he represents Christ who is always quick to come to our help when we are weak, despised, and abandoned. He is ever ready to help us to recover from our injuries, and He is so close to take care, and to heal us.

We have one life and we do not get another one. So live your life praising God and if you fall astray, always run back to Him because He will always welcome you with open arms. Use the gifts He has blessed you with to serve others. Do not live your life wasting away with the temporary happiness of life, find permanent happiness in living out the virtues and serving others. God loves us so much that He gave us this life.

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