Reflection for Sunday, July 10, 2022: 15th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Butterfield, George
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|I am part of a study group that decided to read the documents of the Vatican II council. We are currently discussing Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Chapter II on the People of God essentially asks the question, Who can be saved? In section 16 the council states, "Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace, strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." This makes me think, What is my excuse? I know the Gospel of Christ but can I be saved? In the first reading, Moses says that God's word for me is not mysterious or remote. I don't have to go in search of it. It's already in my mouth and my heart. I only have to carry it out. But that's the rub; do I really want to? How many who never heard the name of Jesus in this world will be at his side in the next while those of us who gazed upon his majestic beauty in this life will be on the outside looking in simply because we never responded to his loving gaze or rested on our laurels, taking the grace of God for granted?|Today's Gospel.|Jesus: love your neighbor as yourself.|Moses: you only have to carry it out.|Me: but, but, but who is my neighbor?|A "good Samaritan." To many people in Jesus' day, "good Samaritan" was an oxymoron. The only "good Samaritan" is a…well, you know.|Carl lived in one of the many communities north of Dallas. One day he had to drive his old pickup truck through the middle of Dallas – gang banger territory – until his truck just stopped. He could not get it going. However, help was on the way. A priest came walking down the street. He saw Carl and thought, I need to get that guy some help. So, he called the parish to see if he could get in touch with the We Help People with Broken Down Trucks committee. Who knows whether or not he got him some help. All we know is that he walked by on the other side of the street. Then a deacon came walking by. Wait, deacons don't count because, in Jesus' story, the second guy coming by was a Levite. Wait. Didn't I just chant the Exultet at the Easter Vigil where I chanted that God has numbered me among the Levites? Okay, since I am a deacon (Levite) I quite imagine that he was thinking about his family at home who needed him. Or perhaps he was carrying the Eucharist to some sick shut-in. All we know is that he, too, walked by on the other side. You probably realize by now that I made those two guys up (no disrespect intended for priests and deacons). So, let me tell you what really happened. A truck pulled up and stopped behind Carl's broken down truck. The four biggest Hispanics he'd ever seen got out. Look at those muscles. Look at those tats. I'm in trouble now. One of the men approached his truck and said, "Having trouble? Pop the hood and let's see if we can get you going." They got him going.|Jesus stands the question "who is my neighbor" on its head. The real question is, who am I to be a neighbor to? The answer is obvious.|Jesus' teaching is not mysterious or remote. We only have to carry it out.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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