Catechism 13

Detail from Jan Wijnants, "Parable of the Good Samaritan"
Detail from Jan Wijnants, “Parable of the Good Samaritan”

Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?

Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word, and deed.

(New City Catechism)


All this being said –

the neighbour languishes

where thieves

and Levites have left him.


The Samaritan shames

the priests, the sons of David.

Yet even his heart

turns the wrong way to worship.


The eyes of righteousness

scan all of earth’s children.

The straightest human heart

is too crooked to reach heaven.


Jericho’s road, ridden

with bumps and threats

takes the best among us

and casts us to its side.


But look: one comes

like a Son of Man.

He makes only level paths

and follows with ready feet…

Catechism 12


What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?

Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive, but speak the truth in love. Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone or resenting what God has given them or us.

(New City Catechism)


The one beside you in the field,
      who labours with hands just like yours,
with soul and breath, desires like yours,
     the one who eats like you –

the one who, born beneath the same
     sun and stars – he too requires
the truth which holds you in its stead
     and says what is and how.

The one who has a wife like you,
     husband, children, dreams like you,
the one who sweats and sleeps like you
     and eats bread like you eat –

the one who opens hopeful palms,
     expectant of his daily bread –
must love and must be loved like you;
     his heart beats much like yours.

These yearly, daily, hourly gifts
     of rain on just, unjust alike
cut through your skin-deep, fence-post heart
     to veins that bleed like yours.