Moses said to the people:
‘Obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping those commandments and laws of his that are written in the Book of this Law, and you shall return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
‘For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, “Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, “Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.’
Christ Jesus is the image of the unseen God
and the first-born of all creation,
for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth:
everything visible and everything invisible,
Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –
all things were created through him and for him.
Before anything was created, he existed,
and he holds all things in unity.
Now the Church is his body,
he is its head.
As he is the Beginning,
he was first to be born from the dead,
so that he should be first in every way;
because God wanted all perfection
to be found in him
and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,
everything in heaven and everything on earth,
when he made peace
by his death on the cross.
There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’
But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’
For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond you.
It was raining rather heavily one Sunday morning and I had my trusty umbrella sheltering me from the car to the church. A lady was also sheltering her elderly father with an umbrella. Then a car pulled up closer to the walkway and an elderly lady took her time to step out of the car. Because her elderly husband was at the wheel, I think she was betting on getting to the church in the rain with her walking stick. Fortunately, the lady with her father notices their friend and offered to shelter her as well. I was already walking ahead, thinking of the readings I had to lector, I just happened to look back as the elderly lady took up the offer. Three of them crowding under one umbrella was not going to work out very well, and without much hesitation, quite naturally, I walked back to shelter the elderly lady. I believe anyone in good spirit would have done the same, and that is not the point I am even trying to share today. As we were walking to the church’s entrance, she said to me, “Thank you, young man, you have done your good deed for the day.” My reply to her was, “Oh! This isn’t much, nothing at all, you are welcome.” To which she replied, “Oh no, no. It is important to do something good everyday, and you have done yours already.”
When our Father in heaven laid down His laws for us, it was not to be applied to life after death and it was not something impossible for us to achieve. As the first reading reminds us, it certainly is not something beyond us to reach for. He has planned all to be done here in this life on Earth, as He had sent Jesus to die for us here on Earth. As my fellow parishioner had put it, do one good deed a day. It is not measured by how much it is worth in dollars, it is not measured by how many likes you get on Facebook and it is definitely not measured by how much the other person will love you back. It is much about making the other person’s life a little better, perhaps just for the moment, or just for today only. For the Samaritan in the Gospel, he has surely done his good deed for the day.
We probably do not have to look too far to lend a hand every day. Like myself, I may not have noticed the good that I had done because I am narrow-minded and had given little credit to my own actions. That is why it is written that it is never beyond us. Continue to love our neighbours, and when we are ready to take the next step, to be able to even reach out to a complete stranger in need. I do know if my next challenge is to approach a homeless and listen to his needs.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Let us pray for those who are seeking help and feel lost, may they find someone who is able to make their life less of a struggle each day and that they live happily in Jesus’ name.
Thanksgiving: We thank you for those who have reached out to help us in one way or another and those who have inspired us each day.