12th Sunday after Pentecost 7.8.16 All in need
We can feel sorry for other people with the various problems they have.
Feeling sorry for others is generally a good thing insofar as it is motivated by genuine charity. We do not want others to suffer, just as we do not want to suffer ourselves.
It could be, however, that our sorrow for others has a tone of superiority about it. If I see someone has a problem I do not have, such as a particular addiction, I might feel superior to him (like the Pharisee towards the Publican, Lk 18,9-14).
Our Lord said that we should remove the plank from our own eye before the splinter from our brother’s eye (Mt 7,5).
Taking today’s parable of the Good Samaritan, we might see ourselves in the role of the Good Samaritan, the one providing the help; or at least the one in the stronger position.
If we can provide the help we should do so, but first we need to see ourselves as the man lying by the side of the road.
We also are in need of being rescued, healed, forgiven, set free etc.
Some have more problems than others, but we all need the mercy of God; and that is where we must start.
We all need Salvation. We all need to be in union with Jesus Christ, and that is our first concern.
The man by the side of the road symbolises all of us – robbed by Satan of our true status; turned into outcasts when we should have been sharing in God's kingdom.
Our Lord comes as the true helper, giving us the thing we most need. Once lifted up by Him, cleansed of sin, re-orientated in our thinking by the Holy Spirit – we are then able to help each other; but always with that awareness of our frail humanity.
We can help each other make progress.
The whole of our lives, and the whole of human history, we have been trying to get back what we have lost.
God wants to restore us, even more than we want it (cf the father waiting for the prodigal son to return Lk 15, 20).
But such is sin, that once we have been led into the darkness, we do not always welcome the light. (cf Jn 3,19: men loved darkness more than light because their deeds were evil. Or: If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth (1 Jn 1,6)).
We do not always want to be ‘patched up’; still being attached to the sin.
So it takes an extra dose of grace to break through our defences, to the point that we will willingly turn away from all sin.
Once we do let Our Lord lift us up, we are then more desirous of helping others to know what we know.
If we have faith we want to share it, because we see how much good it can do.
Of course we should practise practical charity; helping the poor, the sick etc.
If that was all we had to do it would be easier, but we are also called to help others spiritually, and that is more demanding.
The idea of rescuing people spiritually is not new, but in the present secular climate we will be accused of imposing our views on others.
We impose nothing; we merely point out that there is a Saviour, and the good He can do.
He is the real rescuer, no matter what human intermediaries there may be.
Let us at least not stand in the way of what He wants to do. Let the Saviour save; let the Good Samaritan stand us all on our feet, as children of God.