08 July 2016

'Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”' Sunday Reflections, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Netherlands [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Luke 10:25-37 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii,  gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Samaritans' Passover Pilgrimage, Mount Gerizim [Wikipedia]

Fr Kevin McHugh, a Columban confrere in Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila, sent me the following by the late Monsignor Thomas Waldron (1929 - 1995) of the Archdiocese of Tuam, Ireland. Father Kevin transcribed it from a cassette tape.

NB When posting this yesterday I omitted the last part of Monsignor Waldren's reflection. It is there now.

Instead of a homily I am going to take a risk . . . I am going to tell the story in the words of the lawyer who asked Jesus the Question that you just heard in the Gospel ‘Who is my neighbour?’

So, I am the lawyer.

We lawyers make our living by asking questions . . . especially when in the court room. Well, I was one of those standing in the crowd that day . . . and I asked a very basic question.

‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

I admired him . . . I liked him . . . but I just wanted to test him. He didn’t answer me! Like any good lawyer he shot back the question . . . two questions.

'What is written in the Law? What do you read there?'

I gave the standard answer: ‘Love God with all heart etc . . . and your neighbour as yourself.’

He said: ‘Exactly! Do this and you will live!’

I suppose I could have left it there but I wanted to show off . . . to show the others how smart I was . . . so I asked, ‘But who is my neighbour?’

He gave me a little look as if to say, ‘You are a clever one alright . . .but listen to this!’

And then he went on . . . you know the story . . . Jewish priest . . .. sacristan went down the road . . . passed the man lying at side of road. Samaritan came along and helped to save his life.

It was a beautiful answer to my question.

But he wasn’t finished with me.

‘Which of these three,’ he said to me, ‘would you think was neighbour to the man?’

Made his question personal!

Now the roles were reversed. Jesus was not my witness . . . he was my judge? I was more like a defendant!

‘The one who took pity on him,’ I said.

A few bystanders approached him so I took my leave. I had certainly met my match!

But later on that day I met Jesus in the Market place; he came over to me and said: 'Good Question!'

And I said to him, ‘Great Answer!’

Lawyer: 'I presume that the part you yourself would have played in the story would have been that of the Good Samaritan?’

Jesus: ‘Well, actually, no. I think I would have been the man who was injured and beaten . . . lying on the road. It was from that point of view that I told the story:
·        with the ears of a man who heard people pass by when I shouted out for help;
·        with the eyes of a man who saw feet walk by him - on the other side – when he needed some one on his side;
·         and I told the story with the thanks of a frightened man . . . thanks for the fellow who stopped.
·        The man on the ground – that’s me – is grateful for anyone that stops . . . man, woman or Samaritan.

When you’re down, you don’t care what colour, class, creed or nationality is the hand that helps you up.

And he looked at me . . . and he looked at us all gathered here this evening when he said: ‘Go . . . and do likewise.’

Antiphona ad communionem  Communion Antiphon.. Cf Ps 83[84]:4-5 

Passer invenit sibi domum et turtur nidum, ubi reponat pullos suos.
Altaria tua, Domine virtutum, Rex meus et Deus meus!
Beati qui habitant in domu tua, in saeculum saeculi laudabunt te.

The sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for her young:
by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.

Blessed are they who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise.

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