Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on all facets of human interaction: emotional, psychological, moral, economical, and spiritual; all these affected facets have contributed to a slow, general dehumanization of society. To a different degree we have all been impacted by the forced isolation, the restrictions, the contradicting guidelines, and by the way so many aspects of our life have been controlled by others.
In this painful context, awareness that especially children, teenagers, and young adults need more sincere, selfless love, accompanied by warm human touch and close interaction might become overwhelming for some. Confronted by this increased demand for love, clamoring from all sides for our care and concern, might result in the temptation to pass by the opposite side. Luke 10:31
This is what the Levite and the priest did when they were faced with the inescapable, immediate although silent cry for help from the man half-dead by the side of the road. No disciple of Christ, even in this disturbing environment in which we find ourselves should say: “I mind my own business and I let others do as they please as long as they do not bother me.” The underlying thrust of the readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time point to how delicate and interdependent our life is within the Body of Christ, and beyond.
Jesus is before all things and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. Colossians 1:17
The Body is forever united to its Head, Jesus Christ. And in that Body, we are constantly affecting each other. We ought to understand that to think and to operate as if we were each a separate, isolated entity leads to indifference, paralysis and, eventually, to death. As the Body of Christ, we are called to fight back by pointing out glaring contradictions, shameless falsehoods, phony rights fabricated by self-serving ideologies that contribute to the dehumanization of our society. We are also expected to resist any law that forces us to disobey God’s law as kept and interpreted for us by those whom Christ has appointed shepherds and teachers over us. It is not only spineless but also irresponsible, foolish and, ultimately, self-destructive to mind only “our business.”
Now, we can succeed in resisting and fighting back while carrying out the new commandment of loving each other the way Jesus loved us from the cross, only if we are so much in love with him and his Church that we are ready to pay a very high personal price. So, lest we might claim that it is not clear how far we should go to show our love for Christ and for his Church, here are two snippets from the life of St. Paul, one who truly loves Jesus Christ, the Head, and his Body, the Church.
Love for Christ: …yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me. Galatians 2:20
Love for the Church: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God. Colossians 1:24-25
However, for those who still insist on minding only “their own business” and wait to react only when they will be good and ready, here is the ultimate, the only question that covers completely and accurately one’s true “personal business.” “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25
Notice, if you will, how the one asking this, the only existential question that counts, is a scholar of the law. He knows the answer before asking the question.
But, to limit the embarrassment of having asked what is to be self-evident to him; he shifts into a scholarly, academic mode and asks about a definition of “neighbor.” The answer that Jesus gives transcends time and space. It excludes completely the option of minding only “our own business” as an acceptable guiding principle while still wanting to inherit eternal life. In theory, every assault, every wound, every stripping, every beating, every attack on the truth, every exploitation, every injustice on a human being, born or unborn, must be and truly is our business. In practice “our business” encompasses all those of which we become aware, and we can help. Thus, the only way to inherit eternal life is by showing in concrete, personal, direct ways our love for Jesus and for anyone in his Body, in the Church.
We cannot look at the government for guidelines precisely because the moral decay of secularism and the falsehoods of relativism have already warped the minds and the hearts of throngs of gullible people who insist on being guided exclusively by political correctness.
The priest and the Levite minded “their business” by continuing their journey on the opposite side of the road feeling justified by the law that forbade them to come in contact with a possible corpse to avoid ritual impurity.
The Samaritan, on the other hand, had all to lose by making that victim of robbers “his business.” Had the unfortunate victim of robbers died while in his care, his relatives could have taken out their rage on him. He made it “his business” even if that meant considerable and disproportionate personal inconvenience: the interruption of his original business trip, the dressing of the wounds, the walking all the way to the inn, the extra money given for any additional care, and so on.
Today, facing again the only truly existential question ever, to avoid self-delusion, we might want to take time out to see how often or how seldom, how much or how little we inconvenience ourselves and make ours the business of Christ and of any needy member of his Church.
Once we cut through any lame excuse and come up with an accurate assessment of our loving involvement or apathy, we might want to place daily reminders just about everywhere to tell us that the only way to inherit eternal life is, as Jesus orders, by making ourselves neighbor to anyone in need.