Moving Beyond Contractual Obligation

While preaching about the parable of the Good Samaritan, Fr. Matthew Howell talks about feeling “contractually obligated” to help a passerby whose car was stuck in the ditch. He goes on to elaborate how we, as Christians, are contractually obligated to love our neighbor simply because we claim to be followers of Christ. We should, however, move beyond “contractual obligation,” doing good works as a fruit of our love for God and as an expression of our faith. Along the way, he quotes St. Nikolai of Zica, Galatians 6:9, Wisdom of Sirach 14:14 and 16, James 2:18, Matthew 5:7, and touches on the feast of St. John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria.


2022 Homily: The Golden Life of Love

2021 Homily: It’s not a ‘Got-to’, it’s a ‘Get-to’

2016 Homily: “Do this and you will live”

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Brethren, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Luke 10:25-37

At that time, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.