Yesterday’s session of “The Well” which is held regularly at the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians was as usual an enlightening one. Fr. Rene Lagaya, SDB, did a very good job of sharing his learnings and insights on Hebrew culture, the significance of one’s name, the Law, and many more in a short but meaningful afternoon.
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 10: 25-37), a scholar of the law asked several questions to Jesus. One of which is, “And who is my neighbor?” The Lord answered by way of a parable, telling a story about how a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan traveler responded to the situation upon seeing a man who was stripped, beaten and left half-dead in the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Reflecting on the story can make you think that even in those times people must be as busy as we are in the present day, such that we ignore helping others because “we have other things to do”. The priest must be “in a hurry to lead worship”, or the Levite “must be busy in keeping the Temple in order”, such that they evade helping a man who was almost dead. Not the Samaritan traveler though, who was caring and compassionate, even paying the inn to take care of him. The Samaritan must be as busy as the others and yet he took time to save the man from dying on the road. He was compassionate, caring and loving.
Many times we can be like the priest or the Levite in the parable. More often when we are being besieged by work and career, we ignore giving time and help to others. We focus on what we want to achieve.
Are you doing right when you ignore help
when necessary? In the Gospel, when a scholar of the law stood up to
test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what
must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered with a question “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
The answer most of us already know. For those who studied early education in Catholic schools you must have memorized this already since grade school:
“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.”
How do we become consistent then?
In the recollection yesterday, Fr. Rene clearly responded that it is not much on “what we want to do, but on what the Lord want us to do”. Despite our careers, our lives should be Christ-centered rather than ego-centered. God wants us to submit to Him and He’ll take care of the rest. The Samaritan traveler showed us that despite his busyness, he took the time to care for the wounded and dying Jew. Take note that Jesus was talking about a Samaritan, people who were discriminated and despised by the Jews at that time. The Lord was talking on a very important message that kindness is to be for everyone, even our enemies. Fr. Rene observed that “loving” God is easy for the rich and the mighty in society. They shower the Church with donations, give so much their time, and yet the difficulty is in “loving the neighbor”.
It is more convenient for you to be friendly with people outside your home and yet do not reflect this kindness with people and neighbors surrounding you. Yet people who are genuinely happy and successful at life are also authentically caring and compassionate. They reflect Christ’s love to others.
When you don’t follow God’s commandment to love others, how then can you claim to love Him with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind?
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.” (Jn. 6: 63c, 68c)