15th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 10 July 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Deuteronomy 30: 10-14; Responsorial: Psalm 69; II: Colossians 1:15-20; Gospel: Luke 10: 25-37
The Gospel for this Sunday brings our hearts to the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. The balance of our Scriptures would help us know the acts of that good man were an expression of faith and love to which God calls each of us to live.
Too common are the realities of violence, conflict and hate. So abundant are these messages that fear and despair might well prevail. Except for God. The world of Jesus, of the good Samaritan was a world also infused with violence and cruelty. perhaps that is what fueled the fearful indifference, the avoidance of those who passed by the man robbed and wounded. And, if we are honest so might fears, indifference and avoidance be in our lives. Except for God.
The Samaritan, in spite being on the fringes, outside the accepted realm of those were good and holy responded in a way that was different. His example is that of an human soul alive with much more than fear and avoidance. He responded with his Samaritan’s song. Because of God.
As a firefighter of many years it was my holy privilege to respond to care for those sick, damaged, injured from life. As a fire chaplain, as our Lord’s servant it has been my holy privilege to respond to many souls, sick, damaged, wounded by the robbers of our souls well being. It is a clear challenge to respond to the blood, gore and discharges that we have when wounded in body, soul and spirit. It is not pretty. I learned early on to recognize and care for the wounds, the illness but also to look past the ugliness to the soul, the person often hidden by the brutalities of life yet created and so loved by God. We are not our wounds, or our afflictions!
It is easy, in life today, to see a person in need and think that ok..they need an ambulance, or law enforcement or counseling, maybe prayer. And there are those trained just for those responsibilities. So we may make a phone call on our handy cell phones and leave it to the experts. It is, of course wise to let those trained for the needs at hand to provide the best of care. But that does not excuse or dismiss the need for us each to respond and care with our own Samaritan’s song.
The song of the Good Samaritan, of each of us who seek to care for our neighbor, for Christ in our neighbor is distinct yet is made up of notes and chords that are similar. Our Samaritans Song is composed of our: Witness, Courage, Compassion, and faith.
Our Witness: We do not know the backstory of the Samaritan walking the road the day he encountered the wounded, robbed man on the roadside. But something in whom he saw clicked with the traveler. So it is with us. When we encounter another person who has known illness, wounds, sorrows such as we have, and we know how the grace and mercy of Jesus brought us to a better place we are compelled to act. As St. Paul once wrote: “The love of Christ compels us.” Paul’s witness was changed from a rigid, judgmental expert who persecuted those with whom he did not agree with murderous fervor to the apostle who would travel the world to share the peace he found in the Blood of Christ at the cross. His witness of God’s healing peace and hope empowered his actions of care and mercy. And, like Paul as we allow our witness to be alive in our heart we will respond as did the Good Samaritan in witness and courage. It is in sharing our witness we can share a real and living hope and assurance that the wounded soul is not alone.
Courage: If we are to respond to those wounded, damaged or ill from this world we must have holy courage flowing from God’s love that conquers our fears. It is never easy when we see someone who is bloodied in body or soul to respond. We may well sense they need care beyond our abilities. But we share the the path of their life. We can turn away or hasten on. Except for God… who is with us. So we go to the needs at hand and trust God’s grace to help and hasten further aid. It is in that courage we learn to see beyond the disorders and wounds to the soul loved by Christ and respond in compassion.
Compassion: The struggles and despairs of life are very real. Great is the spiritual warfare that results in so much carnage of bodies and souls. Nobody can or should respond or encounter these assaults alone. Yet it is one of Satan’s greatest weapons to try to isolate and make the wounded soul feel they are all alone and well they might be. Except for God. And it is as we allow our hearts and arms to carry and embrace each other in holy compassion we bring the melody of God’s strength and healing even more deeply into the world. It is in the compassion of Christ we share with the needs at hand and with Christ …with-passion, with His Passion. The holy song of our witness, of God’s courage and compassion in us is found and shared n faith.
Faith: We never really know the outcome when we see and respond to someone who is wounded or ill from this world’s sorrows. The Good Samaritan certainly worked and hoped that the man he found would recover. But it was long before modern medicine and infections often resulted in further damage or loss. Except for God. The Good Samaritan had faith that God would help the soul in need. So must we. The outcome, especially in the physical realm may be difficult. But we are servants of God’s eternal kingdom. The body will ultimately fail. But we believe and know our soul and spirit are created and seek to be redeemed by God for life eternal. It is our faith responding in the love of Christ that brings us to cleanse the wounds, the soilings of this life to bring about the healing found in Christ.
The need for the Samaritan’s Song, of the chorus of our Samaritan’s Songs is great. The One who leads and brings that new song in our hearts, from His Body, the Church will grow as together we respond with our shared witness, God’s courage and compassion sung together in faith.