We hope you have had a good week with much of the peace & joy we reflected on last weekend. This weekend we have the Parable of the Good Samaritan so our readings are in & around that theme. It is a very familiar story, maybe too familiar, so it is good to stop & think about it. One can imagine oneself as any of the characters – perhaps we usually read it from the Samaritan’s mindset, but one of our reflections looks at the story from the wounded man’s perspective – the innkeeper, too, is worth a thought.
It is also Sea Sunday so maybe as we listen to the blessing – an Irish blessing from Sacred Weave – we could be mindful of all who make their living from work at sea, often being absent from families for long periods. Please pray also for our sisters in DR Congo & Rwanda – it is our Tea-Box fundraising weekend for them.
Hoping you will have a good week especially if you are going away.
With our love & prayer
Reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan – by Fr Ray Collier including quotations from Pope Francis
In the story of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan saw the person on the side of the road as a human being, not another statistic. In his vulnerability, he began the process of taking care of the wounded person whilst recognising he was not capable of doing everything for the person himself. He sought the help of others who were more able than he was. He did not leave and forget the wounded person, instead he returned to see what else might be needed. He listened attentively to his story and learnt more about him and his identity aside from being a victim of a brutal robbery.
Pope Francis in his Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti – ‘Brothers and Sisters All‘ tells us: ‘The parable shows us how a community can be built by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good.’
Our mission as missionary disciples is to let these exploited and silenced neighbours of ours know they are not alone, that they are precious and have a story to be heard.
Pope Francis also tells us in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium – ‘Joy of the Gospel’ that, ‘As part of his mysterious love for humanity, God furnishes the totality of the faithful with an instinct of faith – sensus fidei – which helps them to discern what is truly of God.’
“But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came to where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him.” Luke 10:33-34.
Christ is the one who stops for each one of us as we lie by the roadside in our own need. He is the one who has drawn near to us by becoming flesh, so as to become our neighbour. And he remains our neighbour at our side. It is the faithful and compassionate Jesus, the one ever close to us, who is moved with compassion at the sight of each of us. He approaches us, tends our wounds, and lifts us up. Christ does this for us in moments of anxiety and confusion, when we need the peace which he offers us. He approaches us with compassion in those times when we need forgiveness. He is the Good Samaritan when we are facing illness, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and in countless other circumstances. The healing that Christ offers us is not magical. It is not like “divine plastic surgery” that makes the wounds we bear simply disappear. Many of the wounds and the burdens that we bear are things with which we struggle for many years in our lives. Often the scars from those wounds remain within us. The healing that Christ most often offers us is the hope and the energy that enables us to go forward in life. His faithful presence enables us to move into the future with renewed trust. Because of the presence and compassion of Christ, we do not have to remain imprisoned in the past, fixated on the negative. We can journey on with inner freedom.
Because Christ has stopped for us, and continues to do so, you and I can stop for others. By our baptism, each one of us has been commissioned by Christ to become mediators of his compassion to a good but wounded world. He sends us forth to a world that is holy but also in need of the life and redemption that Christ offers. He sends us to a Church that is holy but also very wounded these days – a Church that needs to be renewed, rebuilt. We live in a society where bitterness and vengeance often seem to triumph over forgiveness. We live and work with people who seem to be imprisoned in their resentments. Christ sends us forth to our homes and neighbourhoods where it is all too easy to cultivate prejudice toward those who are different from us. We are missioned to a society in which human life is threatened in all its stages, from conception to natural death. We witness the weak and vulnerable of our society passed by, time and time again. The world in which we live is in need of Christ the Good Samaritan. And the hands of Christ the Good Samaritan are your hands and my hands. The compassionate gaze of Christ is offered to people of today through our eyes. Christ takes our hands and uses them to tend to the wounds of those who lie by the roadside in our world. Christ the Good Samaritan acts through you and me, as we learn what it means to be neighbour to those around us.
Extract from Tina Beattie’s Radio 4 ‘Thought for the Day’.
Re the Parable of the Good Samaritan:
The world lies by the roadside in its weeping, struggling life – and Christ lives in the pain. As we walk by our neighbours are we afraid to stop in case they asked too much of us? Or are we afraid because other people might think we are like them?
Have we looked at ‘the other’ & found it difficult to believe they have any good in them because they are not like us – so we do not look for the good.
Faith becomes real when the compassionate reach out to the broken-hearted across the void with simple words & acts of kindness. To quote the philosopher Simone Weil, ‘the love of our neighbour in all its fullness simply means being able to say to them, ‘What are you going through?’
Our Neighbour as Ourselves.
whose name is not honoured
where the needy are not served,
and the powerless are treated with contempt:
may we embrace our neighbour
with the same tenderness
that we ourselves require;
so your justice may be fulfilled in love, amen.