July 9, 2016
Today’s readings seem to be quite clear in their meaning for our lives. We are first called to follow the commandments of our God. Secondly, we are part of God’s wonderful creation through Christ. Thirdly, we are to love God with our whole heart, being and strength. Lastly, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and act in that manner being like the Good Samaritan. Clearly, our God is trying to teach us this weekend that the laws we have been given are based out of one true and holy thing, LOVE.
When it comes to the very familiar story of the Good Samaritan, we nod our heads and imagine that we are NOT like the first two people, the priest and the Levite (lawyer) who comes upon the poor beaten up man. We always want to be seen as the Good Samaritan. We always think of ourselves as that one that would go out of our way, WAY out of our way to care for the one who has been victimized by the awful robber.
If this is our perception of the story, how come we so often fail at this most important work?
Yes, I do believe that we fail at this quite regularly. Too often, when I am driving around here in Albuquerque or other places around the State I see people on the side of the road asking for a ride. Truly, my first immediate reaction is to want to stop, pick up this person or persons and help them get on their way. Why don’t I stop? Well, in years past, I know that there have been many people who truly depended upon the kindness of others to assist them in getting from place to place by hitch-hiking. Now-a-days, it’s not so easy. The short answer to my own question, “Why don’t I stop?” is, that I cannot take the chance. It is way too dangerous to stop. I cannot take the chance that the person who I would help might turn around and make me a victim, steal my car, leave me for dead on the road and then there we would be. A community without a pastor, priest and not to mention, I really don’t want to die that way. Perhaps my thought is a bit of an overreaction. What do you do when it comes to people who are asking for a ride or assistance?
Perhaps we fail at leaving the victimized person at the side of the road in other ways. Let’s consider something a little closer to home. Perhaps you are living next to someone, let’s say a family. What if you all too well that the seemingly happy, healthy family actually consists of someone who is regularly being beaten; the wife or even the husband? Is it not our responsibility to at least anonymously contact the authorities when you see the bruised eyes, bashed face and other clear signs that someone is in distress and cannot cry out for help? I do believe that domestic violence is much more prevalent in our community than we would like to admit. The stigma of calling the authorities and the possibility that the confidentiality would be broken is too real of a fear. So, we most often just say a prayer and hope that the abuse will stop before someone gets killed. Too often we are uncomfortable and don’t want to get involved.
This issue of the Good Samaritan is one that is not in our readings to embarrass us or to make us feel guilty. It is; however, an opportunity for us to reflect on our blessings and our lives to see if we ought not to be doing something more for those who are dramatically in need. This week I would ask you, my brothers and sisters, to consider how it is you are serving your neighbors and loving our God? Perhaps we are doing all we can at this point. Perhaps we can be doing a little more like even visiting the folks who are homebound right here in our parish.
May God bless us all today and always!!