Monday, October 6, 2014

See and Stop - Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.

“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don't live in a world all of your own.” ― Albert Schweitzer medical missionary in Africa

Gospel Text: (LK 10:25-37)
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Once a famous Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí was run over by a tram and the bystanders didn’t stop to help the injured old man. He carried no documents and looked like a beggar. Had they realized who that neighbor was they surely would have stopped to help him.

When we practice “the good” we think we do it for our neighbor but we really do it to Christ: «I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me» (Mt 25:40). Pope Benedict XVI says my neighbor is anyone who needs me where I can help. If everyone seeing his neighbor in need would stop and have mercy on them once a day or once a week the world would become better.

In a capitalist society, the reigning “gospel” measures worth by what we produce, consume, and possess. People without money, jobs, health, home, education, or status do not count for much. St Paul warns that a false gospel like that is a curse (GAL 1:6-12 ).

To measure life solely this way smothers us in emptiness.

The Samaritan was an outsider. He was familiar with insults: people moving away to avoid contact. No surprise that a person at home on the margins would notice a stranger sprawled in a ditch. Privilege had not compromised his vision. He could see. He could hear. He was moved to act.

Transformation often begins with those whose flesh touches our own. No wonder that the poor often open their doors to those in trouble. Up close, suffering and injustice become real. As our moral imagination grows the situation of those at a distance become visible.

God says: you will find me in the poor. That road will lead us home.

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