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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 | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Visit To Omaha Beach

The American military cemetery in Normandy, picture taken in the summer of 2003 by Bjarki Sigursveinsson, via Wikipedia

Twenty years ago, in September, our pilgrim group of three drove 175 miles out of the city of Paris into Normandy country, to visit Omaha Beach, the D-Day invasion site of June 6, 1944. On coming into view of the American Cemetery, my friends stopped and could not speak for a long time.

Words cannot describe the row upon row of white stone crosses, stretching endlessly into the horizon, some 10,000 of them. On D-Day, these men faced withering fire from enemy machine guns placed on the bluff overlooking the shore. All young men, in the prime of their life, but called to duty, with all its dangers, superseded all other matters. The crosses represent only a small number of the members of the Armed Forces killed in the opening days of the greatest military invasion of all time.

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a day to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and to draw inspiration for life from our military dead. By their example, these fallen heroes remind us of the quality of courage and honor resting in the hearts of each one of us. The dead buried at Omaha Beach, were the young people living down the block from us, just ordinary boys. I was ordained a priest on May 6, 1944, exactly one month before this carnage took place. If I had not been in the Seminary, I could well be lying beneath one of the white crosses.

Instead, God has given me a long life with joys and sorrows found in every human existence. I give thanks for the opportunity to taste life from youth to old age, for the chance to know God better in all the happenings of life. For these men, lying there in the silence and quiet at Omaha Beach, life was just opening up for them like a fresh flower in the spring time. A cruel death cut short their dreams and hopes for the future.

In our mind’s eye, as we contemplate the all the lives of those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we would do well to ask ourselves, “What will I do with my life?” God has given us many days to live. We can pass these days in a selfish, complaining manner, preoccupied with the material things in life. On the other hand, we can seize each day as a precious gift and work for God’s Honor and Glory!

Inspired by our fallen heroes, we can purify our minds and hearts of selfish attitudes, know that the greatest victory is the victory over the evil within us. In our innermost hearts, we possess courage not only to rush enemy machine guns, but more importantly to drive out addictions to evil in its many forms.

Seeing the American cemeteries in France in 1997 affected my life deeply. Call it a rich bonus I didn’t foresee from my visit to France. To this day I cannot tolerate a haphazard attitude towards life, allowing carelessness about God’s Honor to take over my days.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 4 Comments