HOMILY FOR FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (C)

 

In today's Gospel, we see a Scribe ask Jesus a very basic religious question: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?”   In answer to the question, Jesus directed the Scribe’s attention to the Sacred Scriptures.  The scriptural answer is “love God and express it by loving your neighbour.”  So Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable clearly indicated that a “neighbour” is anyone who needs help.  

The first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy reminds us that God not only gives us His commandments in Holy Scriptures but that they are also written in our hearts so that we may obey them and inherit eternal life with God. In the second reading, St.  Paul reminds us that just as Christ Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God,” our neighbours are the visible image of Christ living in our midst.  The final command of Jesus, the Heavenly Good Samaritan, given during the Last Supper was: “Love others as I have loved you” because the invisible God dwells in every human being.

 

Some inquisitive Jews were wondering why their rabbi disappeared on Saturday vigils. They suspected he had a secret, maybe with God, and they entrusted someone to follow him. What they saw was the rabbi cooking and sweeping at some woman's home: she was a paralytic, and the rabbi was serving her and preparing her some special meal for the festivity. When the spy came back, the Jews asked him: Where did he go, to Heaven, amongst clouds and stars?. But the spy answered: No!, he climbed up much higher.

 

To love our neighbour with good deeds is the highest up we can climb; it is where true love is made manifest, not just passing by on the other side. To be a good Samaritan means to change our plans (he went over to him), dedicating our time (he took care of him). Which allows us to contemplate the figure of the innkeeper. As His St John Paul II pointed out: ‘What could the Samaritan have done without him? In fact, the innkeeper, remaining anonymous, is the one who takes care of the toughest part of the job. We can all act like him if we fulfil our own task with a spirit of service’. Every occupation offers the more or less direct possibility to help the needy. The faithful accomplishment of our own professional duties already implies the practice of our loving all persons as well as our society.

 

To leave everything to harbour he who needs it we need to be the good Samaritan and to do well our job for love we need to be the innkeeper, these are the two ways for us to love our neighbour: Which makes us a good neighbour. ‘The one who had mercy on him’. And Jesus said, ‘Go then and do the same’(Lk10:36-37). We turn to the Virgin Mary and She who is a living example!, Her Life will help us to discover our neighbour’s material and spiritual needs.

 

The parable makes us realize that every human person is our neighbour. How have we been good neighbours this week?  To whom did we behave in a neighbourly way?  The parable is a condemnation of our non-involvement as well as an invitation for us to be merciful and kind to those in need, including those in our family, neighbourhood and parish. We are invited to be people of generosity, kindness, and mercy toward all who are suffering. A sincere smile, a cheery greeting, an encouraging word of appreciation, a heartfelt “thank you” can work wonders for a suffering soul. Thus, the correct approach is not to ask the question “Who is my neighbour?” but rather to ask, “Am I a good neighbour to others?”.

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