A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 10: 25-37
"There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said: "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied. "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandanged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, "Take care of him, if you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back." Which of these threee, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robber's victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." The Gospel of the Lord
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, enkindle the hearts of the faithful and fill them with the fire of your Love. Amen
"Go and do likewise." What is our Lord telling us to do? As we read the passage, we can see the "unformed" heart of the educated scholar being taught...his heart is being educated as to "what Love looks like" to our Lord.
This morning, as I walked into the hardware store there was a 'commotion' of people (a lot of tourists it seemed) all trying to pass around an elderly gentleman, who was shuffling in with his walker. He was moving quite slowly looking up here and there and pausing along the way. Some people offered help but he couldn't hear them so well it seemed, so he would stop randomly in the narrow isle and look around which caused everyone to wait. Everyone seemed in a hurry, I also had run into the store shopping for a doorknob to replace the old one in the convent. As I came closer behind the elderly man, walking slowly in the pace he was walking, I looked into his face, hoping to catch his eyes, but as he looked up at me he turned away. So I waited for him to pass and prayed for him as I walked through the hardware store, looking for doorknobs. When I made it back to the front of the store to checkout, I could hear him talking to the cashier not far away from where I was, he sounded tired and he said to the cashier, "Can you help me find some light bulbs, for my nightlights?" One could see, in looking at him, that possibly he fell recently, as he had scrapes, bruises and bandages on his arms and legs. The cashier said to the man, "you can find the light bulbs downstairs." He looked at the cashier with a blank stare in silence and sat down on the walker seat, looking down at the floor. A woman who was helping at the front desk said, " I don't think we have those light bulbs here." My heart sank. So I got out of the line and approached him and as I did he turned away and I said, "Could I help please? Do you need nightlights?" He looked up at me with the most beautiful eyes, wide open like a child with a spark of light in them. The nightlight bulbs were just down the stairs a ways. It was such a very small thing. But what a great gift from God for me! The opportunities 'to love' our neighbor are God's gift to us! That small hardware store errand had a 'grace' attached to it. I drove home with my 'heart burning' by the love that came through that elderly man's eyes. Those very small acts of love, acts of mercy, are the hidden places where Christ is waiting for us. Jesus said Mt 25: "What you did to the least, you did it to me. " Our Lord commands us to "go and do likewise" because He awaits us in the forgotten, the weak, the elderly, the poor. He is the Gift!
Most likely you and I won't find too many people who are lying on the roadside half-beaten left to die. But we will find many emotionally 'beat' people on our journey. What is your response? We won't probably take a jug of wine and oil and pour it over the wounds they carry in their hearts, but, we can pour out lavishly the love of God that is poured into our hearts without measure. We may not haul a person in our vehicle to safety but we can carry them in our minds and hearts to our Lord in the Eucharist. We may not pay silver coins to get them the care they need, but we can give our time, more precious quite often than silver and gold and listen, love, help, be a presence to them; to the elderly, the weak, the broken, the poor and the uneducated who are treated with neglect and oftentimes contempt. We will meet them like the Samaritan did, on the byways of the grocery store parking lots, on the highways of the isles in busy convenience stores. Will you be the one who stops, and allows your life and your busy schedule to be interrupted or your dinner plans delayed in order to love? Mercy has a face, He is there in the person we pass, we meet, we are detained by, in the person who asks our help for the hundredth time in one day. Will you love?
Prayer: Merciful Father, show me the way in which my life needs to change. I love you, increase my Faith, help me to see your image and beauty in every soul I encounter. Amen