FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (July 10, 2016)
Dt 30:10-14/Col 1:15-20/Lk 10:25-37
On responding to the question of an expert of the law “Who is my neighbor?”, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. Then He asks the expert who has been the neighbor to the robber’s victim. The expert replies that the neighbor is the one who has treated the robber’s victim with mercy; the one who has helped the victim. Then Jesus says to him: “Go and do likewise.”
Our mission here on earth as Christians is to be a neighbor to those who need help. First of all, we must be merciful just as the heavenly Father is merciful. We are in the extra jubilee year of mercy and so the more we must show mercy to others. The first ones to whom we must show our mercy to are those who have hurt us in one way or another. We must forgive them just as Jesus forgives us of our sinfulness especially when we avail of the sacrament of confession. Then it is our obligation as brothers and sisters in Christ to show mercy to others, especially those who need help.
Second, to be a neighbor means to help those who are in need. To help the needy is a concrete way of showing mercy. Mercy is not simply a strong emotion of sympathy towards the needy. A Christian mercy is an action of love that is manifested in a concrete act of help towards the needy. Thus, we do not simply say that we pity the beggars in the street and that we are sorry to those who die in hunger and to those who suffer injustice. We must have Christian mercy which means that we must accompany such feeling with concrete acts of help towards those needy people.
Third, we need to help the needy not only according to how far we want to help but according to the needs of the needy. The Good Samaritan helped the robber’s victim by assisting him restore his good health condition. We do not help the needy by simply giving to them whatever we want to give them, much less by giving them our surplus goods. We truly help them by restoring their good human condition worthy of being the children of God. In other words, we help them by restoring them to their human dignity.
The words Jesus addressed to the expert of the law are being addressed by Jesus to each of us at this very moment: Go and do likewise. As Christians, it is our duty to be merciful to others, to help the needy and to restore the human dignity of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized in the society because of injustice, poverty, sickness, discrimination, etc. The words of Jesus Christ remind us that we are here on earth to love one another and to care for each other. We are all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and we all have God the Father as our heavenly Father. There must be no place for hatred or pride in our hearts; rather, there must always be love and humility, understanding and service.