Faith · Religious life · spirituaility

July 14th – Law of Love

Scripture Reflection . . .

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading:Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69 “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.”

Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

Today’s Readings remind me of another scripture passage from Matthew’s gospel (22:36-42).

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Deuteronomy seeks to remind us that the commandments of God aren’t some external rule that we need to discover, figure out and try to live. Rather God’s ways are already planted in our hearts; the way to fullness of life is not about external laws and rule but about our internal attitude towards love and goodness.

if we wonder about this we only need to look to Jesus who, as Colossians describes, is the “image of the  invisible God.” And Jesus by his words and life embodied love and the freedom that love provides. It is a freedom not based on the following of rules and laws but on listening to the Heart that dwells in our hearts.

Jesus provides an image of what the law of love looks like in action through the story of the Good Samaritan. When asked, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus bypasses this perhaps because there is no question about who our neighbors are – everyone is our neighbor! However, Jesus vividly describes how we are to be neighbor to others. The external law actually tends to separate us from being neighbor as we struggle with what is right and wrong, who is acceptable and who is not; what the implications are for my personal reputation, etc,

The law of love guides us to let go of the social entrapments and expectations, to release judgmental thoughts and behaviors about another’s lifestyle or past history and to embrace differences and vulnerability with compassions, mercy and empathy.

The law of love transforms us from asking “Who is my neighbor?” To “ How can I be neighbor to everyone I meet?” Our world today is in such need of Good Neighbors.

In Our Lives as Sisters of The a Redeemer . . .

Our Spirituality reminds us that “Love of God and Love of neighbor are one and the same.” Our Foundress, Blessed Alphonse Maria Eppinger embraced all peoples recognizing that everyone has a poverty and is in need of spiritual, physical, and emotional healing. Her faith in a living and merciful God continues to instruct us how to be neighbor to others. Thus we value the call to hospitality.

This past week we welcomed a former Redeemer Ministry Corps member as she visited with her new baby. We also were excited to welcome a college student who had participated in our garden internship  program last summer.

We attended a picnic at the Group Home we sponsor and experienced the hospitality of our neighbors as they welcomed us with unconditional acceptance.

We visited individuals receiving care in hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities who carry known and unknown burdens and vulnerabilities.

We gather daily with one another in community for meals and prayer.  We bring our own joys and sorrows and we strive embrace the joys and sorrows of one another.

In Your Life . . . 

The rule of “shoulds”

Ever find yourself wondering “What should I do?” How should I respond to someone else’s needs?” “Should I reach out to offer assistance?”

A phrase I  learned in religious life: “Stop shoulding on yourself!”

i think these are appropriate words of wisdom today.

In prayer, reflect on how often “should” showed up in your thoughts and words today.

Perhaps the priest and Levite in today’s gospel both wondered if they should reach out to help the victim of a robbery. “Should I risk reputation, my own safety?” “Should I miss my duties and responsibilities in order to  stop and help?” “Should I get my hands dirty with consequence of having to undergo ritual purification (another rule).” “Should I reach out to help or will it only cause dependency and a waste of resources?”

Paying attention to  ”Shoulds” can help us notice areas where we are not free or where we are rigid and rule bound. Perhaps you can practicing changing your phrase to “What does my heart tell me to do?” “What would Jesus do?” Or “How does love guide me to respond?”

Blessings on your week!