The Obvious Answer
(15th Ordinary Sunday: Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37)
In the first reading, Moses states that the Law is not beyond his people’s ability to know it or carry it out. Mary at La Salette touches on some of the simplest and most obvious requirements of Christian and Catholic life. Both seem to be stating the obvious.
In today’s Gospel, a legal scholar is challenged by Jesus to find his own answer to the question about attaining eternal life. He doesn’t hesitate. “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.” Pretty obvious, really.
Moses speaks of “this command that I enjoin on you today.” To enjoin means to prescribe, to encourage, to admonish, to prompt, etc. It implies an expectation of compliance. Mary hopes for the same, not only from Mélanie and Maximin, but from all those who will someday hear her words.
Observance of the law carries with it certain rewards. Today’s text from Deuteronomy follows upon a passage reminding the people of the blessings that come to those who heed the commandments. Jesus, in the Gospel, says, “Do this and you will live.” At La Salette, the Beautiful Lady promises an end to famine for those who submit to her Son.
Acting in view of a reward, however, is not an adequate fulfillment of the great commandment. The more perfectly we love God, the more natural it will be for us to live by his will.
Consider Jesus in his passion. He loved his Father with all his heart, pierced for our sins as blood and water poured forth; with all his being, as he entered fully into his Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane; with all his strength as he carried his cross; with all his mind as he prayed even for his enemies.
Mary, at the foot of the cross, united her love to his. At La Salette, she asked nothing for herself. It was natural for her to respond to the needs of her people, the obvious thing for her to do.
What must we do to inherit eternal life? Love the Lord, our God... Love our neighbor... Go and do likewise. Is that too mysterious, is that too remote?
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.