Readings for Monday October 4, 2010
Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, religious
First Readings: Galatians 1:6-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 111
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Before every football game that I ever played all of my coaches had one resounding message: "hold nothing back." I was always taught to go out every game and give it everything that I had. We were always told to "leave it all on the field." This meant that when we played a game we should play our hearts out; with all of our strength, courage, passion, energy, desire ... everything. So by the end of the game when we walked off of the field, we hadn't held back a single thing. We were told that if we did this, then we would be winners.
The same is true with our faith life. Today in the gospel we are told that in order to gain eternal life we must love God with all our heart, our being, our strength, and our mind; and we must love our neighbor as our self. This requires us to love God with all that we are, and to not hold back anything from Him. It is not enough to just say that we love God, we must show it. In our faith life, we need to "leave it all on the field." God does not hold back His love for us; He never stops loving or caring about us because He is too busy or too tired. No, God always opens His love up to us, but it is we who hold back and do not fully accept it. If God never holds back on us, shouldn't we work to love Him the same?
Let us pray for the holy Spirit's guidance in our lives to help lead us to heaven; and to help us remove any barriers that prevent us from loving God with our whole being and keep us from being loving and merciful to our neighbors. For if we leave it all on the field with God and hold nothing back, then we too can inherit eternal life.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day and for all that you give to us. Lord, help us to love you with all our heart, mind and strength from now until the end of our days on this earth. Lord we pray for the compassion to love our neighbors as ourselves and pray for the strength to love. Lord, be with all those who are struggling on their faith journey and all those seeking you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.