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The Good Samaritan

The interior of St. Sulpice Chruch, Paris, France
Photo by Daniel Vordran via Wikipedia

To the crowds, Jesus preached these words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” A lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus told him a classic parable. On his way to Jericho from Jerusalem, a Jewish traveler fell into an ambush and had all his goods stolen. The robbers beat him badly and left him by the wayside.

At different times, a Jewish priest, and a Levite passed by quickly and ignored the victim. Then, a Samaritan, with whose people Jews had no dealings, stopped and put the battered man on his donkey and took him to a nearby inn. The Samaritan paid the innkeeper for the care of the Jewish man.

The Samaritan didn’t ask, are you Jewish or Samaritan. Or, can you pay me for my service to you? He proved himself a neighbor to the ailing stranger. Next, in importance after love for God, comes our love for our neighbor, no matter what his race, color or culture. Our neighbor is anyone who crosses our path in life.

In May, 2004, I was sitting on a public bench close to the great St. Sulpice Church in Paris. At rush hour the streets were filled with traffic. Suddenly, a woman about 65 years old, moved quickly in front of me to catch a bus stopped in the middle of the street at a red light. Viola! Her shoe got caught on something and she lunged forward with a sickening thud.

The driver of the bus that she was trying to catch left his seat and rushed to her side. He, along with some other Good Samaritans, comforted her and helped her sit up. The driver stayed at her side for some 20 minutes, until the ambulance came. Her face was all bloody. I was amazed at his care for a complete stranger.

Two weeks ago, tragedy struck America once again, this time in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the last 14 days, we’ve heard the stories of the heroism, compassion and love of complete strangers – risking their own lives to save the lives of strangers they had never met. As with our Samaritan, they did not ask what religion the victim was, or pass by one that was a different color or race. Each was a neighbor, a person in need.

I have no answer for the evil that is in the world. But like the story of the Good Samaritan, I am again amazed by the care and love shown complete strangers in Las Vegas. Where there is Jesus, there is love, and where there is Love, there is still hope.

Fr. George McKenna

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Book That Saved My Life

Façade of the Celsus library, in Ephesus, near Selçuk, west Turkey photo by Benh LIEU SONG via Wikipedia.
The Library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Anatolia. It was built in honor of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, and was built to store 12,000 scrolls

In the Major Seminary, a six year course of studies prior to the Priesthood, I found one part of the day’s schedule the most testing of my wish to be a priest. After our big meal of the day, at noon, we seminarians went back to our rooms at 1:00pm and made ready for the first afternoon class a half hour later.

Weary from the long morning – we rose at 5:30am – and the heavy meal at noon, I could barely keep my eyes open. The rule said: no sleeping. I would keep asking myself, do I want to be a priest with all these years ahead of me? How could I go through these dragged out feelings every school day for the next six years? I seriously thought of leaving.

Then I came to own a lifesaving book, a history of the Missions of the Oblate of Mary Immaculate Priests among the Indians of Northern Canada. A large volume, it had many photos in it. This book told of the courageous work of the missionaries in the early 1900s in their efforts to bring the “Good News” of the Gospels to the Indians.

I came to know these long bearded men who lived with the Indians, with lice, half cooked food and the intense cold. What heroes they became to me!

Each school day, at 1:00pm, this reading quickly took up the troublesome 25 minutes. I wanted to be a priest more than ever before.

Books can save us from giving up hopes for a better way of living. Reading casts magical spells over the minds and hearts of readers, bringing them into new worlds of interest and adventure. At this autumn time, with its early darkness and chilling winds, draw aside to warm corners of our homes and immerse ourselves in books that will change our lives!

Make use of libraries with all their features.

Fr. George McKenna

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 2 Comments