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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings: July 11, 2010

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

July 11, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C Readings:

1) Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37
2) Colossians 1:15-20

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

Moses explained to his people that God’s command for how to live wasn’t difficult to access. It wasn’t up in the sky or across the sea. It wasn’t something that had to be carried to them by special messenger. “No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out,” he said.

A few years ago in a small Appalachian city, I met a man who understood this well. Every day for two decades now, Bob has carried out God’s command -- in this week’s Gospel -- to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

An engineer, he’d retired early from a successful engineering career when he became more interested in his volunteer work than his job. He had become adept at negotiating the complexities of the ever-changing Medicare system and soon was assisting hundreds of elderly residents of his community each month to apply for and receive their benefits.

But in the process he soon began discovering people with other needs far outside the reach of Medicare.

Having built a sizable network of personal connections through his Medicare research and contacts, Bob soon was finding various kinds of social service assistance for individuals in dire situations. Suffering under the dual burdens of illness and poverty, people would bring their distress to Bob and break down in tears. He’d listen and assure them they would find help. They would.

It came naturally to this man whose heart knew God’s command to love. The more he cared for his neighbors, the more he … well, cared for his neighbors.

But he wanted to share something more with them. In a region where religion is seemingly dominated by self-ordained itinerant preachers, Bob wanted his neighbors to understand what God really wants from us.

“So when people come to me for help, somewhere in the conversation I usually just mention that I go to Holy Spirit Catholic Church,” he said, “and they’ll say, ‘Is this what you learn there?’ and I say, ‘Yes, I learn you’ve got to help people.’ In a place where most people are used to getting fire and brimstone at church you can see it’s good for them to hear.”


Who are the “neighbors” in your life that you forget to love? How can you become more attentive to their needs?


“For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you” (Deuteronomy 30:11).

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