This is Good Samaritan Sunday, calling us to charitable love of all, especially those in need. Not just avoiding hurting them but lifting them up in their suffering. Lets confess any ways we fail to help fellow human beings fallen by side of life’s road..
One day in Calcutta Mother Theresa saw a man in the gutter, thin, sick, covered with sores, dying. She lifted him up, though frail herself, and took him to her house. She washed and anointed his wounds, and gave him fresh clothes and food. Soon after he died. Her critics said what’s was the point, he died anyway. The point, she said, was the smile on his face as he died.
This good Samaritan Sunday we are asked to show the same concern for the human dignity of the needy. Good Samaritans in action, living the gospel now, as Theresa did. Not walking past those suffering in body, soul or mind, but helping them as best we can. We have mother’s day at this time and Theresa was a mother to all without discrimination, especially the precious poor, the brothers and sisters in Christ she found around her.
Our charity must also start at home, though there the need may be less obvious. Even in our homes, our children, spouses, or neighbors may need more than a riches, a simple hug or a gee up. That’s why Mother Theresa insisted that her helpers should not just feed and clothe the poor, but give them real human love. For we humans can live without many things but we can’t do without love; as The Beatles said, “all you need is love, love, love is all you need”. The story of the Good Samaritan shows us what love means, caring in action at every level of human need. Whether with those around us or those wider afield, the church is really a family of prayerful and active love, not law.
As St.James say, its no use saying to a poor person, God bless you, keep fed, keep warm, while doing nothing to help their pressing need; we must walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Some say all we need is faith, but its empty without charity.
Another story of Mother Theresa show this well. One day she was going in to a major conference on world poverty in Calcutta, and as she went in she noticed a poor man outside the door of the big hotel begging for food. All the grand delegates walked past him without even a glance, like the priest and Levi in our gospel. He was just a statistic. They were talking about helping the world’s poor, but let that man die in front of their very eyes. Talk is cheap and sometimes its just a way of justifying our selves; even Bono, who does much good jetting around the world to raise issues of the poor, keeps his billions. Recent surveys have shown its people on the ground that make a difference in famine-stricken areas. Much international aid lodges in stores or is syphoned off in corruption; when the crisis blows over the people are as bad as ever. Those who make a difference are long term volunteers, digging a well to irrigate the land, giving a cow to feed them for the future. Just as a mourning neighbor needs our comforting shoulder to cry on, not a condolence card. Like the Good Samaritan we should see the need, provide help, and care for long-term. Then we’ll make a difference and pile up reward in heaven. For cold uncaring self-centeredness leaves us empty inside but Christ is lord of caring love, both for our real happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as such real caring people of God where we are, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
And as the people of God lets pray for all our deepest needs and the needs of those struggling to live in this time of recession..
For church leaders in Ireland and throughout the world that like the Holy Father they may be a true parents, caring for all tenderly and confirming their faith by charitable giving.
We pray for the leaders of our country that they may lead us in true concern and real justice for all, especially the needy.
For all those who have wandered from the fold today, lost by the spiritual wayside, especially young people, that they may return to the loving arms of their heavenly Father and Mother..
And we pray in silence for all our own intention and especially for neigborly love and caring homes in these difficult times…
We pray for our sick, that we may show to them the care and love of Christ, the all-caring and motherly Lord of all who suffer…
For our dead who have died in Christ and within the bosom of his holy church, that they may know the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life that sustains us…
And we ask all these prayers through Christ to our heavenly Father who cares for us forever and ever, amen
I was delighted when our present Pope was elected and that he took the name Francis after the saint who dedicated his whole life to helping the needy. Indeed, even when archbishop, the present Pope lived in a simple apartment and went every week to the poorest parts of his parish, on the ordinary bus, to help the very poor and be with them in support. He didn’t just talk the Christian talk, he really walked the Christian walk like the Good Samaritan. We pray to Mary that in some small way at home or in our neighborhood, or by sending what aid we can afford abroad, we will do the works of charity required of us…Hail Mary.