Message from Fr Joe (9th /10th July 2022)

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9th/10th July 2022

Dear Parishioners,

Today we hear again the story of the Good Samaritan. It is one of the most famous stories told by Jesus. In this parable, Jesus wants to tell us that God wants us to care for one another. That means reaching out to others, welcoming others and offering the hand of friendship and forgiveness. In the story, the priest and the Levite stand condemned for a sin, not of commission, but of OMISSION – they refused to help the man who was attacked and beaten up. Sins of omission may be our worst sins, yet we do not always think of them as sins. The things we leave undone can cause more offence than what we actually do. And yet we often gloss over the sin of NEGLECT. ‘It’s nothing to do with me’, or ‘I don’t have to do that’ – we find every possible reason to excuse ourselves of reaching out to others.

So back to the beginning of the story. The lawyer wanted to disconcert Jesus, to confuse him. Jesus sees his malice and cleverly puts the onus back on the lawyer. So the lawyer tries again and asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Today we are faced with the same question. Who are we responsible for – who is our neighbour? It’s not just the person living next door! Jesus is telling us very clearly that our neighbour is anyone, regardless of class, colour or creed, who needs help. Really there is no hiding place for our neighbour!

So often we too ‘pass by on the other side’. We say we can’t help everybody – so we help nobody! The person, homeless and begging in the street we see as a nuisance; the man, woman or child landing in a raft on our shores is a pest – just to be sent away again to Rwanda!

The priest and Levite in the parable were religious people serving in the Temple. They would be contaminated if they touch a dead person, and so would not be able to fulfil their temple duties, which had to take priority. Or did they? There was a duty to the stricken man too!

We still have the same challenge today. How do we respond? How do others respond? Where do our duties to one another begin and end? Jesus is very clear on this question. It begins and ends with our neighbour.  Fr Joe.

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