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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

Lift Up Your Heart

View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth’s atmosphere. Picture via Nasa Earth Observatory

Allow me to share one enjoyable flying experience with you. Sometimes, at ground level, the weather takes a nasty turn – rain, fog, all darkness and gloom, even in daytime. Then, one steps aboard a jet plane, quickly leaves the ground behind and climbs for a time through heavy, dark gray cloud cover. Suddenly the plane breaks out into the bright cheerful sunlight. I never grew tired of experiencing this breakthrough to light on those dismal days.

We can apply this experience to life. Oftentimes we find ourselves enshrouded in gloom and dark happenings: sickness, unemployment, hurt feelings, failure at work or marriage, fears about the unknown days ahead of life. Everywhere we look we see nothing but discouraging and depressing backdrops in life. We want to throw up our hands in despair and say, “Is this what life is about?”

Would it not help to realize that above all this darkness and distress, the bright warmth of God’s Love is always present? God, Love Itself, never ceases to direct His Peace, Joy and Hope into the hearts of us, his people.  Climb in spirit on the wings of prayer and soar above these dismal surroundings; bask in the Love always streaming from the Heart of our Great God. If we wish his inspiration and courage, they are ours for the asking. Life is worth living, no matter what the circumstances are at ground level.

Remember, above the clouds the heavens sparkle with beauty, cheerfulness and warmth from horizon to horizon. Lift up your heart!

Fr. George McKenna

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