July 14, 2019 — Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings show us that to live as good stewards means to follow God’s commands and to live our lives as a gift in service to others.
The First Reading, from the ancient book of Deuteronomy, reminds us that God’s laws are not inaccessible to us. Rather, they are written on our very hearts. Moses says to the people in today’s passage that God’s commands are “very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry [them] out.” And as we see in today’s Gospel passage, God gives us these laws so that we may inherit eternal life. God’s commands are meant to help us to live as His good stewards and lead us to Heaven.
In our Second Reading, from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, we see God’s instruction made even more explicit, in the very person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Father has sent His own Son to demonstrate how to obey Him and to give us a living example of how we should live our lives as a gift. As St. Paul says, “Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God.”
Finally, in today’s Gospel passage, from Luke, we read the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan. Here, Jesus Himself teaches us in rich detail what stewardship in action looks like. In fact, this parable could just as accurately be called the parable of the Good Steward. Let’s study the actions of this good steward.
The first thing we note about the Good Samaritan is that he is aware of the needs of those around him and responds generously. While the priest and Levi brush right past the man on the side of the road, the Samaritan is watching for those who might be in need. He has a hospitable way of looking at the world around him and so he is able to “see” in a way that the others did not and he was “moved with compassion at the sight” of the man.
Next we see the Good Samaritan spring into action to serve this man, setting aside his own schedule and plans in order to meet his needs. He does not just give the man a few dollars or offer some quick words of encouragement from across the road. He goes right up to the man. He cleans and bandages his wounds. He puts the man on his own animal and brings him to an inn where he can heal. He ensures that the innkeeper would continue to look after him and he commits to returning to the man on his way back.
This type of hospitality and generosity in serving others are essential to a stewardship way of life. Do we have this same hospitable openness to others around us, both to those who may feel on the outskirts of our parish family and to those “on the margins” of our wider community? What can we do to become more aware of the needs of others and more open to setting aside our own plans to care for those needs?
That is how we live out God’s commandments.
That is true hospitality and service.
That is how a good steward springs into action when he comes upon a neighbor in need. And Jesus says to each of us personally, just as He did in today’s Gospel, “Go and do likewise.”