Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, C
Obey the voice of the Lord, keep his laws; return to God with all your heart and soul
Moses reminds Israel that God's commandments should be obeyed heart and soul. He was admonishing the people who were journeying towards the Promised Land. The reason is that this journey which, in a straight line is about the distance between Perth and Geraldton, took 40 years! Their hearts were constantly being led astray.
The Church is constantly reminded of this –our tendency for being led astray– in the invitatory psalm, that for “forty years they wearied me (said God), that generation. I said: their hearts are wandering; they do not know my path.” And it was because of their ignorance, hard-heartedness and probably sinfulness that Moses was keen to remind them of the covenant and making God the centre of their existence. ‘Obey the voice of the Lord, keep his laws, return to him with all your heart and soul.’
I think it’s beautiful how Moses kind of doesn’t anticipate the Gospel, saying that what is enjoined upon Israel is not beyond their reach. So, who will go up to heaven to bring back the Word of God? He makes the point that the Word of God is in their hearts for their observance. However, when we get to the Gospel the unexpected happens. As Moses had rightly said, the Word of God is not beyond our reach –precisely the opposite– as the Word came down to us!
The point is that Jesus came down from heaven to make us one with Him, one Body in Christ. He obliterates any distinction among us, in the Gospel being between Jew and Samaritan.
The second point, and the most important, is that God loved us ‘that much’ to come and make us his own by making with us, his home! Let us have the courage to love each other in such profound simplicity. And it is here that we must ask the question: Why would anyone want to stray from the path set out by such a loving God? Knowing what Jesus has done for us (Cross) let us imagine ourselves, like in the first reading, journeying towards the promised land. Why do we stray so often? Is it that we prefer this world to heaven or do we think that we know better than God?
Dear brothers and sisters, I counsel you to obey all that God asks of you. We have a profound tendency to stuff things up, to follow every passing whim! To the contrary, every law, every precept given by God is to right our course, to bring us together as one, and to bring us to experience a happiness otherwise impossible.
Let us now celebrate the mystery of God’s Love which is a foretaste of the life to come 😊