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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Homily 7-14-2013 Being the Good Samaritan

 When these readings arose three years ago, I preached on the beauty and importance of Confession: Jesus the Good Samaritan, heals our wounds and brings us for continued healing to the Church – the inn, the safe home where we are cared for. Today I want to look at something else: We are called to be Good Samaritans when Jesus commands us, “Go and do likewise!”
As Moses reminds us today that the Law of God is written upon our hearts, a part of our human nature that the Catholic Church calls natural law. That law cannot be blotted out, and from our Creator we hear the voice of our conscience calling from inside us to “do good; avoid evil; love your neighbor as yourself.” This internal law of God, invisible but so very real if we are listening, is manifest us in Jesus.
We heard Saint Paul tell us, “Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God... and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. The Church re-echoes these words in the writings of Vatican II, cited in the Catechism, CCC 1710 (Gaudium et Spes 22) Christ ... makes man fully manifest to man himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.
Jesus, the Good Samaritan who did much more to make us well than just spend a little time and money, but even wasted his own life to care for us: he is the one that shows us how to live, how to love. He reveals what it means to truly live out that law written in our hearts.
Pope Francis made his first trip outside of Rome this past Sunday, July 7th. He went to Lampedusa, an island that receives immigrants traveling treacherously by rafts to Europe. It is estimated that some 20,000 people have died attempting to arrive at this place, because there seems to be little concern for the inconvenience they cause the island and the continent. Here are some excerpts from his homily, starting with the story of the Fall in the Garden of Eden:
Adam, where are you?” This is the first question that God addresses to man after sin. “Where are you Adam?” Adam is disoriented and has lost his place in creation because he was thinking how to become powerful, to dominate everything, to be God. And harmony was broken, the man erred – and this is repeated even in relations with his neighbor, who is no longer a brother to be loved, but simply someone who disturbs my life, my well-being. And God puts the second question: “Cain, where is your brother?” The dream of being powerful, of being as great as God, even of being God, leads to a chain of errors that is a chain of death, leads to shedding the blood of the brother!
These two questions resonate even today, with all their force! So many of us, even including myself, are disoriented, we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live, we don’t care, we don’t protect that which God has created for all, and we are unable to care for one another. And when this disorientation assumes worldwide dimensions, we arrive at tragedies like the one we have seen.
Where is your brother?” the voice of his blood cries even to me, God says. This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us.
Even today this question comes with force: Who is responsible for the blood of these brothers and sisters? No one! We all respond this way: not me, it has nothing to do with me, there are others, certainly not me. But God asks each one of us: “Where is the blood of your brother that cries out to me?” Today no one in the world feels responsible for this; we have lost the sense of fraternal responsibility; we have fallen into the hypocritical attitude of the priest and of the servant of the altar that Jesus speaks about in the parable of the Good Samaritan: We look upon the brother half dead by the roadside, perhaps we think “poor guy,” and we continue on our way, it’s none of our business; and we feel fine with this, we feel at peace... The culture of well-being, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalization of indifference. In this world of globalization we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.

[King] Herod [, when he slaughtered the innocent infants,] sowed death in order to defend his own well-being, his own soap bubble. And this continues to repeat itself. Let us ask the Lord to wipe out [whatever attitude] of Herod remains in our hears; let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty in the world, in ourselves, and even in those who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies like this.
O Lord, in this Liturgy,we ask forgiveness for the indifference towards so many brothers and sisters; we ask forgiveness for those who are pleased with themselves, who are closed in on their own well-being in a way that leads to the anesthesia of the heart, we ask you, Father, for forgiveness for those who with their decisions at the global level have created situations that lead to these tragedies. Forgive us, Lord! O Lord, even today let us hear your questions: “Adam, where are you?” “Where is the blood of your brother?”
Help us, Lord Jesus.  Heal us, O Good Samaritan, so that we can be who you created us to be, and have compassion on our brothers.

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