Today’s readings present one of the major challenges of our life of faith. It is the challenge to continue to listen to God’s Word, to what He is saying. God’s Word is sometimes full of sweetness, and sometimes it produces bitterness and leaves a bad taste in our mouths and in our souls. God has a wonderful message to present to us about love, salvation, and friendship with Him, and He has also has a difficult message about the obstacles that can exist to that friendship. We hear three messages of caution today and are invited to pay attention to how we listen to and receive God’s Word – what He is saying to us.
He [the Lord] teaches that the man going down was the neighbor of no one except of him who wanted to keep the commandments and prepare himself to be a neighbor to every one that needs help. This is what is found after the end of the parable, “Which of these three does it seem to you is the neighbor of the man who fell among robbers?” Neither the priest nor the Levite was his neighbor, but—as the teacher of the law himself answered—“he who showed pity” was his neighbor. The Savior says, “Go, and do likewise.”
The law says, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God.” It did not say “speak” but “hear.” Eve fell because she said to the man what she had not heard from the Lord her God. The first word from God says to you, “hear.”
GREGORY OF NYSSA:
If one does not love God with all his heart and with all his soul, how can he care wholesomely and guilelessly for the love of his brothers, since he is not fulfilling the love of the One on whose account he has a care for the love of his brothers? The person in this condition, who has not given his whole soul to God and has not participated in his love, the craftsman of evil finds disarmed and easily overpowers.