Sunday, July 15, 2007

15th Sunday - Deacon Kevin's homily

In today’s Gospel, we hear Our Lord telling the familiar parable of the “good Samaritan.”

The scholar knows what he must do to have eternal life: to love Almighty God completely, and his neighbor as himself.

He asks Our Lord who is his neighbor?

As the scholar believed to love his neighbor meant only to love his fellow Jew.

Our Lord doesn’t answer the scholar directly, but tells the parable.

Both the Levite and priest showed indifference and insensitivity to the injured man.

It was the Samaritan who the Jewish population despised, who immediately rendered first aid and took him to an inn.

Do we love our neighbor and give material support to people in need?

As a parish, I think we do.

St. Andrew’s gives generously of their earnings for many important causes including our parish community fund to help provide comfort to people we will never meet.

But the parable also identifies needs people have that are even more critical than food and clothing.

The injured man in the parable represents all those who are spiritually sick.

While the devoutly religious of the Chosen people refuse to assist sinners, Our Lord, the Good Samaritan despised by the religious leaders, provides the necessary spiritual healing to those who need and request it.

Like the injured man, we are sometimes spiritually beating up by the evil in our society as we journey on the narrow road to the heavenly Jerusalem, which can destroy our ability to tell right from wrong, to question Our Lord’s truth as preserve in the Catholic Church, and lead us to sin.

Just a couple of examples:

A recent poll found that a majority of people felt that children detracted from happiness in a marriage—there was less time and less money for the couple if they had children and that childless marriages were easier to dissolve. News reports praised this new and enlighten concept of marriage.

The problem here is that they were not describing what marriage is—a sacrament of love that was instituted by Christ to give grace—but a corporation that is easily dissolved if one becomes unhappy.

We constantly hear that we must protect a woman’s right to choose, rather than hear what it is, the killing of a life and the abdication of a sacred responsibility of both the woman and man involved.

These and many other daily evil attacks leave us spiritually beaten down, and we must let Christ, the Good Samaritan take care of us.

He heals our wounds through the Sacraments, especially Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, and leaves us in the care of his Catholic Church so we will remain spiritually healthy to continue on the road to heaven.

Love of neighbor requires us to lead our friends and family members ravaged by sin to Christ, the Good Samaritan for healing. Unlike the Levite and priest, we cannot turn away from their critical need for spiritual help.

We may never receive a thank you from them and in fact, we may be criticized.

But it is worth exposing ourselves to possible abuse out of love of neighbor so they too can be healed before their particular judgment, where they will face Christ and either enter heaven, be purified in purgatory, or face eternal punishment in hell.

And if we make this effort to love our neighbor to bring them to the healing power of Christ, the Good Samaritan, on our judgment day, Christ will say, “Well done, you saw your neighbors spiritually near death and you cared for them, enter now into my eternal kingdom.”

11 Comments:

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr.

When we do something that may make someone go away from the church, or from Christ do we have to apologize to that person in addition to going to confession? I was once told that I "owed the person justice", but I don't understand what that means, isn't my sin forgiven when I go to confession? I feel so bad about what I did I just want to stay away from the person, I don't want to go talk to them.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger fran said...

I have always enjoyed the parables in the gospel readings - their symbolism and deeper meaning.
I particularly enjoyed the new layer Deacon Mukri has added to the story of the Good Samaritan; the injured man representing the spiritually sick and Christ being the provider of the necessary healing, through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Very nice!

also....
During the homily when Kevin mentioned the poll which found that, for many couples, chldren detracted from a happy marriage, my daughter looked at me twice with a sad and perplexed look on her face. When I whispered to her that 'mommy doesn't think so,' her face brightened and she smiled.

I pray that couples who have been blessed with the incredibly special gift of children, will look at their children today and see in their faces the innocence, the joy and the beauty that these chldren bring into the world, and I pray that they begin to cherish this gift.

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

To anon-

There’s a difference between acknowledging our actions and taking responsibility for them.

Making amends often isn’t easy, but most of the anxiety I’ve experienced in this was in anticipation of taking action. Remember, faith is belief plus action, and since you don’t know what the result of this action will be, you have to pray to have help dealing with fear.

Saying sorry can be really powerful. Most often I simply needed to say, “I know I harmed you,” and let the other person talk. The most difficult part to understand is that it isn’t about us. Making amends isn’t about clearing our own conscience of guilt, although it's often a secondary gain. Making amends taught me that getting close to God is about getting close to other people and learning to be less self-centered. Our lives aren’t meant to be solitary. If there is something in you that you did that keeps you from another, and you’ve the power to change that- I think you must.

 
At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon;

What you are describing is shame, its not a bad reaction when we do something wrong it is actually a very good thing because it is how we learn. We learn from our mistakes because of that feeling. Yes we want to just go to confession and maybe avoid the people we have hurt, but it isn't productive or helpful in healing.

I remember when I was a teen (a very long time ago), I spread gossip about a friend that made everyone in our school and church think she was a bad person and that she had committed sins she hadn't. Eventually, I realized what I had done was wrong. I had to do several things to rectify the situation. I had to go to confession for the gossip and the lying, I had to admit to everyone that I had spread the lies and gossip to that I was wrong and get their help in "Spreading the word" to fix this person's reputation, and then the hardest part was to go to the person and apologize.

We all do things that aren't right, we all sin, if you avoid the person whom you wronged that person may think that either you aren't truly sorry for what you did or perhaps you are unwilling to forgive them for anything they may have done out of reaction to what you did. Sometimes healing takes a while, it may not happen overnight but if you are lucky, the person will forgive you in word and action and won't hold your actions against you.

Granted, it is rare that you will get a person who will say they forgive you and then actually do it in word and action, and will accept you back despite what happened. If you ever experience that jump at that chance. The girl I wronged when I was a teen was such a person and I was lucky, we are friends 20 years later.

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to make amends, but all I did was make it worse because I thought if the people I hurt knew who I was they would hate me so I made up this crazy stuff to make it look like something else and now my Mom found out about it all 'cuz she saw me messing around on my computer. I am grounded and can only use the family computer and can only go to websites like this and religious ones unless its for school, dad killed my hard drive on my laptop and they won't let me just apologize online. They making me figure it out and I am grounded until I fix it or I go off to college, I'm only going into Jr year this year... harsh.

It seemed funny at the time, I didn't think anyone would take it fer serious, and now its just this freakin' huge thing 'cuz I even lied when I was tryin' to fix it.

Mom wouldn't let me get off easy by just going to confession about it at St. Andrews either, she said if I was gonna fix it then I had to fix it like an adult. Dad said if were here he would have frog marched me to the rectory. Whats frog marching? They said if I major in computer programming in college I better use my powers for good 'cuz they ain't bailing me out.

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't understand, people are really really gonna blow gaskets. 'Cuz I didn't just mess up but I messed up trying to fix it cuz I lied doing that too, sorta cuz some of it was true just not all of it. 2 years of grounding and no car or lots of people blowing gaskets... either way I am in so much dog doo.

 
At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

To the first anon: I would say that we most definately should not only apologize but ask for that person's forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness requires tremendous humility. If I can not ask for another's forgiveness, then I must ask if I am truly contrite. One of the reasons we have penance after confession is to make reparation for our sins. Our sins injure others, the body of Christ. We help to amend this injury through our penance.

Yes, your sin is forgiven when you are sincerely repentent for it and receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Is the damage from your sin still there? Probably.

Lastly, remember it is not about you when you are apprehensive about approaching this person. Certainly it would be very Christ like to approach this person and ask for forgiveness. It may start a healing process that will bring both of you closer to Christ. Remember what Christ said in the new testament: "Be not afraid, I go before you always."

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger fran said...

Dear Anon,
As I read about your troubles, the story of Pinocchio comes to mind. His one lie evolved into something much larger over time, and we all know where he ended up!

Anyway, if you are really having trouble knowing where to begin with resolving your problem, perhaps you could approach your parents in a mature manner, letting them know that your are deeply sorry for your actions and that you need their guidance in getting started. Then, you must continue in a mature fashion and actually act on whatever advice they provide. It may be tough, but you will learn from this experience, earn the respect of those involved, and hopefully resist making similar mistakes in the future. (Is there an older sibling with whom you could discuss your dilemma?)

 
At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon;

The longer you wait, the bigger things tend to get even if you don't worsen the original event by further lying.

I encourage you to try and fix whatever it is that you did. There may be consequences that go beyond what your parents have imposed, but I am willing to bet you never make these mistakes again.

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One person totally forgave me when I apologized with this one email and said that they understood how it was scary to like go to people in person. The other person never said anything and with all the other stuff that happened with this thing that I did and my friends kinda helped add to, I mean it was so ridiculous we never thought ppl would take it fer real, well now I'm kinda scared to actually go to the person who never said anything 'cuz of what happened with them and the first person. It just all started out as a joke and to see if we could pull something off and now its just so big. There is still stuff the first person doesn't even know I did. I kept tryin' to fix it but my friends and I kept making it worse.

All my parents said was that I had to fix it, they won't rat me out, but I gotta fix it myself.

 
At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right; it makes you free." (Stormie Omartian)

 

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