Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 14th July

Luke 10:25–37

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 neighbour 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 neighbour?' 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 travelling 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 neighbour 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.'


Whether the lawyer acted in good or bad faith when he
questioned Jesus need not trouble us now. We can be thankful that his question
brought forth this beautiful parable which has a lesson for us today as fresh
as it had for all those who heard it from the lips of Jesus.

The roads of life, no matter where we live, have neighbours
lying injured by the wayside. They are waiting and hoping that some fellow
people will come to give them a helping hand. We can shut our eyes or turn
away, as the priest and Levite did. No doubt, these two men had urgent business
or they had troubles enough of their own. Perhaps they had helped a few other
similar cases already that day. Jesus does not seem to excuse them on any of
these scores. Even the lawyer did not find any justifying excuse for them. They
behaved badly. They showed that they had no interest in their neighbour when he
was in need, they did not keep the command that God had given them through

Judged in the light of that parable, are my dealings with my
neighbour such as would earn the praise or the condemnation of our Lord? Would
he number me with the priest and Levite, or with the Samaritan? If I give a
helping hand to the neighbours whom I see in corporal or spiritual need, as
often as I possibly can, he will number me among the good Samaritans. If,
instead, I turn a blind eye and busy myself with my own affairs, I am classing
myself with the condemned priest and Levite.

I have excuses. We all have. They sound plausible to
ourselves. We have more than enough to do to look after our own affairs,
material and spiritual. So too had the priest and Levite. We have had to go
through similar hardship and nobody gave us a helping hand. Two wrongs don’t
make a right. These people in corporal or spiritual need brought this on
themselves. Let them get themselves out of their difficulties now.

Our excuses for not helping our neighbour may sound
plausible to us now. But will we dare repeat them on the judgment day? When
describing the judgment scene, our Lord told certain people that they were
being excluded from heaven because they refused to help him when he was in

Today, with so much social provision for the less fortunate
in most countries, we are not called on so often to exercise the corporal works
of mercy. We are living in a world which is growing daily further and further
away from God. We find people in every walk of life whose one purpose is to get
all they can out of their few short years here on earth. They completely ignore
or forget that their real purpose in life is to get to heaven.

Of course, we cannot go out and preach the truths of faith
to these people on every street corner. Even if we did they would listen to us.
There are many other more effective ways of getting a neighbour to see his mistakes,
if we but take the trouble. Start by taking an interest in your neighbour, in
his work, his family, his reactions. Show by your way of living and by your
outlook on life that God is never far from your thoughts. Show that your
concern is more with the future life than with the present one.

Where there is true love of God, there will be true love of
neighbour. There must be. That love will find a way into the heart of the
neighbour. Resolve, today, to be a Good Samaritan, especially towards those who
are injured spiritually and who will not reach heaven unless you give them a
helping hand. Amen.