A man aboard a luxury liner falls into the sea. He can't swim and in desperation he begins calling for help. A passenger seeing the predicament of this man, is quick to throw in the sea a book "How to learn to swim in five minutes"! The other person throws himself into the sea and going around the man, tries to teach him how to swim, "Look, do as I do and all will be all right"! The third one starts forming a committee to see how to pull this man out of his troubles. Finally one of the passengers just jumps into the water and pulls the victim to safety.
We talk and talk but in real life, what we need are solutions!
Life can be a rough journey. As the parable of the Good Samaritan aptly describes, many times we fall into the hands of robbers. Problems, betrayals, misunderstandings, abuse… has been our common lot. The Church defines the devils as robbers - they steal peace and joy from us.
So much pain. I went to visit an old people's home and I saw all these old people, well taken care of, but alone, terribly alone. I spoke with this couple living in a shabby block of apartments and they spoke about the drugs problem in the vicinity, and the screams of their neighbors when they start shouting abuse at each other. Every day new stories.
The priest passes by... The Levite passes by… They do not make one single step towards this man half dead by the side of the road. The truth is devotions and piety and laws cannot really help us.
Shall we live and die like this? Making the best out of it and deep down hoping it will soon finish. Is there someone who can do something for us? Jesus claims there is.
There is a Samaritan, an alien - Samaritans were foreign to the Jews - who does something. He sees. He is moved with pity. He goes to the wounded man. He puts oil and wine on his wounds to soften and clean them. Then he bandages his wounds. So many delicate touches! He puts him on his own animal. He brings him to an inn. He pays for his lodging with two silver coins. He reassures the innkeeper that he will come back and pay for the rest of the expenses. What better treatment can you expect?
This good Samaritan is Jesus Christ himself. He can and wants to cure our deep wounds He dirtied his hands with blood to restore us to health. Only when we discover this mercy, that we can show mercy towards others.
Jack Casey was raised in a tough home, the child of an alcoholic father. He once said, "The only thing I learnt from my father is that I do NOT want to be like him!"
But something happened to Jack when he was a child. He was having surgery one day and he was frightened. A nurse stood by him, compassionately reassuring him. "Don't worry. I'll be here right beside you no matter what happens." And when Jack woke up again, she was true to her word - she was there.
Years later Jack, now a paramedic, was sent to the scene of a highway accident. A man was pinned upside down in his pickup truck, and gasoline was dripping down on both of them. The rescuers were using power tools to cut the metal, so one spark could have caused everything to go up in flames. The driver was frightened, crying out how scared he was of dying.
Jack remembered what had happened to him long ago in the hospital and he just said and did the same thing for the truck driver, "Look, don't worry," he said, "I'm right here with you, I'm not going anywhere!"
Days later, Jack went to visit the rescued truck driver in hospital. The driver told him, "Man, you are crazy, the thing could have exploded and we'd both have been burned up!"
"I just couldn't leave you," was the simple but powerful answer of Jack
Jesus Christ is like that. He just cannot leave us! He cares too much!
It is so sad that so many people never heard this good news. This is why we need missionaries. It is even sadder that even in the Church, many look for their answers elsewhere when they have Him here staring at their face!
Let us be real!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.