Today’s parable speaks for itself. Its message is simple – ‘go and do likewise.’ Live the law of love. See in every person we meet, family, friend, or stranger – a brother or a sister. We are called to cross the road, to be with those who are in need, whatever their need may be. We are called to make the effort to put aside our own needs, our own busyness, our own preoccupations, and make ourselves available to a person in need, again, be that person family, friend or stranger.
I read this little reflection on today’s gospel: “Jesus is the compassionate stranger to our fallen, robbed-of-innocence humanity. Jesus comes to our side of the rode and takes us into the inn of His embrace after tending to our wounds through the Sacraments. Oil and wine are the healing bandages of His touch. Healed by His touch we are sent back on our own journeys, we are to ‘go and do likewise.’
That seems to sum it all up. But it’s not easy. There can be so much within us, mind sets, prejudices that keep us from crossing the road to be there for a man, woman or child in need. We can be so judgmental when we see a panhandler begging at a traffic stop, ‘what’s wrong with that kid, why doesn’t find a job?’ We can be turned off, disgusted when we see a person sleeping on a downtown street. We can automatically judge such persons as lazy, freeloaders, unwilling to work. We have no idea of the demons that may torment their broken lives. We tire of all those people with their hand out begging, shaming us into dropping a loonie or toonie into their unwashed hands. When’s it going to stop? It will never stop. Christ’s parable will always be here to challenge us to put aside our needs, go out of our way, and meet the needs of a brother or sister, be they family, friend or stranger.
Most of us have no idea what it’s like trying to survive on welfare – we forget what these good people had to cope with when their welfare payments were cut by up to 25% a few years back – and little has been done to make up for that loss. We have no idea of how humiliating it is for a father or a mother to stand in line at a food bank so they can feed their children. Has the term, ‘the working poor’ had any impact on our consciousness of the life situation of so many people in this city?
As a parish family we do our best to ‘cross over’ to those in need. We have a hard working and generous St. Vincent de Paul Society supported by all of you who remember the poor as you leave the church, we have good people providing casseroles for the Good Shepherd Centre every month, we have people who bring food every Sunday to support a food bank, and you are always generous in supporting the appeals that come our way so often. So many of you do ‘cross the road’ to be there for people in need. Please never give up on your good deeds of kindness.
As we continue to celebrate this Mass we can pray for ourselves and for each other that if and when we see someone in need we will have the generosity to cross the road and be there for them – that we be blessed with the goodness of heart to ‘go and do likewise’ and be there for others as Christ has been there for us.