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.”