The 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 10, 2022
Lectionary Readings: Deut. 30:10-14; Ps. 69:13.16. 29-36; Col. 1:15-20; Lk. 10:25-37
Theme: Who is my neighbor?
The theme of this week’s readings is a question asked long ago of Jesus by a Torah scholar, and it has continued to be asked by people throughout history. In these times of great struggle, violence, war, and famine, the question is no less important, and the answer is even more personal. We are called to be sisters and brothers to one another. We are connected to all of creation and, especially, to all human persons on this tiny planet called Earth. We have been created with God’s divine spark within each of us. Our challenge is to recognize that WORD within us which calls us to become loving human beings. Jesus became one of us to express the Love that our Creator has for each of us. We learn from his parables and example that we cannot turn away from our sisters and brothers in need. Daily we encounter suffering sisters and brothers in the news, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in our families, and around the world. More than ever, with our instant communications, we become aware of the unending pain and suffering all around us. The recent pandemic made this even more visible as we moved to “zoom” ways of “being together” in work, school, faith experiences, and family connections. The question of “who is my neighbor” has grown as people have traveled distances to be with those who have lost loved ones by violence, brought meals to those in need of food, and put their own lives on the line to offer medical assistance in hospitals, on battlefields, and at places of natural disasters. In Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, we see the value, dignity, and worth of every human being as a child of God. It calls us to look to our “better angels” in responding to others. We need leaders in faith communities and in society to encourage and call forth the best from each person.
The Psalmist recognizes God’s kindness and mercy in times of trouble and pain and reminds us that indeed God does listen to those who cry out. We are never left alone in our grief or loss.
The great prophet Moses called the people then and now to “return to God with all your heart.” From the beginning we were created as God’s family. We are called to extend love and care to all those on the journey with us. We lift others who have fallen, and others lift us as well. We must highlight the noble, the ideal, and God’s vision of love for all humanity.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Do you sense a connection with others who are different from you in lifestyle, religion, ethnicity, or sexuality? What are the challenges you face in making connections with those who are different from you? 2. With our ubiquitous communication modes and constant news cycles, do you find this information overload a challenge? How do you manage all that demands your attention and still find moments of quiet and peace?
Bibliography: Eskenazi, Tamara Cohn, and Andrea L. Weiss, editors. The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, URJ Press and women of Reform Judaism, 2008
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Mary Louise Chesley-Cora, USA, Bat Kol Alumna 2001