Today’s Gospel: Luke 10, 25-37 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When I sit to pray with scripture, I try to be open to allowing the Holy Spirit to draw me to a word, or phrase that can be held and examined, like a pearl. This time, it happened quickly: inherit. “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
I tend to think of the life to come as beholding the fullness of God, a relationship realized. But inheritance feels different…you inherit land, or money. You may inherit a home. A home. How many times have we felt homeless in our world? Teacher, what must I do to inherit a home with the Father?
Yet…do we do anything to inherit? Inheritance is gift, given due to long relationship, yes? An inheritance may even be expected, part of one’s birthright. So how do we fallen people inherit a home (a home!) with the Father? The scholar offers “you must love the Lord, your God”…with everything you have…and your neighbor as yourself. Part of this love means recognizing God as Father, and yourself as His son or daughter, honoring God as the source of your life. If we do anything to recognize God as Father, it is simply to make a return of God’s love through love.
Yet the scholar senses there’s more: who, exactly, is my neighbor? Jesus gently redirects him: first, what is love of neighbor? Look: when you stop and love another in need, when you do not put false commitments to God before the man dying in the street. When you take care of the stranger, treat him with mercy. The neighbor is the one who loves as the Father loves.
We were saved to be children of the inheritance. Let us “go and do likewise.” Let us journey home, together.
How does it feel to named God’s daughter, destined for an inheritance called home? Reflect on this and offer your feelings to God.
Father of mercy and love, help me to recognize that I am your daughter, and teach me how to make a return for your love through loving my neighbors as you do.
Copyright 2016 Susan Windley-Daoust
Susan Windley-Daoust, Ph.D., is a wife, mother of five, and associate professor of Theology at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Her recent books are Theology of the Body, Extended: the spiritual signs of birth, impairment, and dying (Lectio Publishing), and The Gift of Birth: spiritual insights for expecting mothers (Gracewatch Media).