Deuteronomy 30:10-14 | Psalm 69 | Colossians 1:15-20 | Luke 10:25-37
This is my homily for Sunday 11 July 2010, 15th Sunday in ordinary time. On-campus Mass at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck, NJ resumes 7:30 p.m. Sunday August 29 for the 2010-2011 school year. I am the Catholic chaplain for the community and FDU Newman Catholic Association.
[__01] Caution and prudence are necessary on the road. For example, whether you and I are behind the wheel as drivers seat or in the crosswalk as pedestrians, we are called to stop – look – listen.
To watch where we are going; watch out for others.
And, if we were to fail to do so – or if we travel too rapidly, we could find ourselves – pulled over .
[__02] A person will be pulled over if he or she were to do something outside the law or boundary, right?
And, the Good Samaritan is pulled over.
A legal scholar (perhaps, a Pharisee) and Jesus are debating what and who is within the law (or not).
The question is “who is my neighbor?” And, this leads to other related questions -- who is within the law? Am I within the law? How do I gain life and eternal life?
A reminder also comes from the Book of Deuteronomy today – in our first reading – that the commandments and statutes are neither remote nor mysterious.
Therefore, Moses says we need not say,
'Who will go up in the sky to get [the law – these commandments] for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' Nor is [the law] across the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' No, [the law] is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out." (cf. Deuteronomy 30:10-14)
We believe the law is person, Jesus himself.
We are called to carry out the law and imitate Jesus – in our homes, at the table, in the kitchen, in the car, at school, everywhere. In how speak and act.
As Jesus also shows us that the commandments are in our midst through this parable of the Good Samaritan symbolizes our savior by going BEYOND the law, BEYOND the boundary of who I think or prefer my neighbor to be …
Be careful – going outside the law will get us pulled over to the side of the road.
And, the Good Samaritan is also pulled over to the side of the road to carry out this new law of love.
[__03] [THE PARABLE] So, the Gospel is telling us how to gain eternal life, to imitate the Good Samaritan.
*** First – by compassion.
Recognize that while you and I suffer - illness – sadness – grief – we are also called to recognize that others also suffer.
These are the people we might walk by or speed by. We might put the pedal to the metal. So, we are called to slow down, not only because the State Trooper arrives with lights and sirens. Rather, to decrease the speed on our own.
*** Secondly – to approach the victim.
Seeing someone who is suffering is one thing. Then, we called to move closer.
To move closer to the person who may be upset, might be angry, might be displeased with you or me.
Under such circumstances, we might imagine ourselves to be the victim.
And, to do this, we also need to recall the Good News of the New Testament.
As Paul writes to the Romans:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep … Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12:14 - 15, 12:21)
When we approach the victim, we are doing as Jesus does.
*** Thirdly – take care of him.
The Good Samaritan imitates Jesus – the Good Samaritan is a symbol of Jesus – who spends his own money, time, resources, fuel to pay the innkeeper he will return.
[__04] Getting pulled over could be bad news, could be a problem. In this case, it is good news. Good News from a personal standpoint and even a legal standpoint.
To be pulled over, stopped once in a while to see what the Good Samaritan is doing. Then, to be sent as Jesus says, to go and do likewise.