Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 10, 2016

•Deuteronomy 30:10-14 • Colossians 1:15-20 • Luke 10:25-37 •
Weekly Scripture Readings:15th Sunday in Ordinary Time                        
 
All of us yearn to be loved and to give of self to others. Loving reveals who we are and what we stand for.  Sincere and authentic love requires courage, strength and intestinal fortitude.  Loving places demands on the lover.  It is one thing to know this.  Loving requires doing.
 
As Jesus and his disciples continue their journey up to Jerusalem “a scholar of the law stood up to test him.”  Today we heard Luke’s version of that conversation. Surely you know this text well.    
 
Jesus uses the opportunity to teach the scholar a lesson.  He quotes the great summary of the law from the Hebrew book of Deuteronomy. 
 
The scholar wished to justify his question so he asks another.  “Who is my neighbor?”  The parable of the Good Samaritan is perhaps the best known of all the parables spoken by Jesus.
 
We don’t know what the scholar did after receiving an answer.  We do know what we must do or at least think we do.  That is the focus of this homily. 
 
Let’s begin with a negative.  We share life on this planet with eight billion people.  It is impossible for us to love eight billion people.  It is unrealistic to think we are obliged to do so.  
 
We are able to love the people with whom we share life – family members, the neighbors next door, the clerk in the grocery store, our work associates and the social circles in which we engage with others.  Therefore we are obliged to love them and in fact it is possible for us to love these people with unconditional love.
 
Our cultural and social circumstances oblige us to extend that circle out a bit further.  One month ago the latest and deadliest murder in American history occurred in Orlando, Florida.  Sure enough, the television news channels were almost totally absorbed by this massacre.  There was a lot of ungrounded talk about ISIS and terrorists.  Blame and negligence were directed toward the FBI and local law enforcement officers.  That incident spurred an immediate 6 to 8 percent spike in gun sales and folks were asking, “what is our nation going to do?”  
 
Change the question.  What am I willing to do to prevent more repetitions of the senseless violence that is becoming far too frequent among us?  I think the only reasonable answer is that provided by Jesus of Nazareth in this text today.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Knowing that is safe but takes us nowhere unless we are willing to accept the demand of loving.
 
Every right – to free speech, to private property, to vote, and so on has a corresponding duty. Unfulfilled duties lead to the suspension of rights.  The common good of all citizens is more important than the rights of any individual. Hunters have a legitimate right to own and use guns.  However that right is not absolute. The common good of all citizens is more important than the rights of any individual.  Am I wrong in suggesting that loving my neighbor compels all of us to get rid of our guns for the common good of all?
 
The second amendment of our Constitution has been twisted and turned to avoid the issue.  Human life is more valuable and far more important than the claimed right to own guns.  Given Sandy Hook and all subsequent events, I am unable to understand how anyone who professes to be a companion of Jesus can bow before the second amendment as if it is a sacred icon!  I challenge anyone who does so to explain to me how it takes precedence over gospel living.
 
Some may get angry about my words.  If you do, please help me understand how we are being Good Samaritans if we frantically protect our own rights at the expense of the common good of all our citizens?  The lives of ordinary people – your parents, spouse, children and friends are at stake. Sincere and authentic love places demands on the lover. Jesus understood this when he addressed the scholar’s question.  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  
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One Response to Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 10, 2016

  1. Kenny says:

    Dear Fr Jim,
    Thanks for your message, it is enlightening to hear.
    But I am perplexed by your words about Jesus Christ and guns. Killing machines are used all over the world by the USA people, not just inside the country. Many do so in the name of God, in the name of Christ, but we all know they would never, ever condone guns or killing machines.
    God has certainly blessed America more than most could ever imagine. They should be on their knees giving thanks. I did when I lived there and thankful for so many years. As so many, I pray to God for blessing and I pray for peace.
    Now I wonder this question, how long will God continue to bless America?

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