19 January 2011

And a bit more even...

Commandment five commands us not to hurt or harm our neighbor in his body.  The thieves in the Good Samaritan parable come to mind.  They pounded on him and left him naked and half dead.  Threw him out as a piece of human garbage after they were done with what they could take from him.  We get that keeping of the commandment.  Bad idea.  Don't pound on people.

But Jesus pushes further with the behavior of the priest and the levite - both of whom cross to the other side of the road.  How many times have we walked that way with them?  And why?  Fear.  Is it a set up?  What will happen if I get involved?  *I* could get hurt.

Along comes the Good Samaritan.  He not only didn't hurt or harm us in our body, but He helped and supported us in every physical need.  Is there a physical need greater than release from death?  And He's come to provide that.  Did it hurt Him?  Sure did.  Cross and all that.  Yet thereby He pardons our sins (though we regard him as the enemy!) and He provides for our care and nurture in the Church and He grants us the healing that lands in resurrection along with Him.

This is the life He reaches us:  a life without fear!  What's to fear?  Our sins, forgiven by His blood.  Our death, destroy by His death.  Our eternal life, assured.  And His heart of compassion toward the man, woman, child in need - He reaches us as our own.


Northwest SD Lutheran said...

I think that you may have answered a question for me. It is especially troubling to my Christian conscience are the people who are begging for change on a street corner for some change. I imagine many of these folk are on drugs and I imagine some are not. However, I don't want to enable anyone's habit so I do not give money but I may give them something to eat. But, I have felt terrible when I neglect to help some of them. Is it still being a good samaritan to help someone even if it may not help someone? After all you don't know. I am leaning a way but I was interested in someone else's input.

William Weedon said...

Generally, I don't think the cash give away helps. I like your practice of giving something to eat and drink. That seems both kind and responsible. But either way, we need not fear. Our Lord is a rich Lord, kind in mercy to all!

Anonymous said...

There is a point to not giving cash.
The really needy people will take
food, but those who like to use the
system will only take cash. Many
times the "users" refused food and
insisted on money. Pastoral
discernment is the key especially
when the "users" have a hard luck
story to tell that is usually

Michael L. Anderson, M.D. said...

I'd like to endorse Fr. Weedon's advice … if this Google Account sorcery ever works again. Through our Baptism in the Name of Jesus, we are graciously allowed to stand in Christ's place, and pray to the Father for ourselves and others.

So in one sense we pray with His prayer, I think, not to lead others into temptation.

The streets of our inner urban communities are often frightening, dangerous and rough places ... not made plane, for easy travel in life. The temptation to sedate oneself, under these dismal circumstances, is exceedingly great. It is all too understandable to yield to the pressure. The clever survive by their wits; but those less endowed with the feral street-smarts, resort to closing their eyes to the misery through the means of syringes and booze. These means require some flesh or some coins, to obtain. This strategy to zone the brain is essentially no worse, than that addictively employed by me and father priest and brother levite ... which is to snap the eyes shut, too, and numb the mind with rationalizations.

A sandwich or a bag of cookies is maybe a small thing; but really now ... are these any more "meager" than a Galilean boy's lunch of bread scraps and a piece of fish or two, as the Lord sees such?

They say a little child will lead them, but I’ve ignored the Galilean lad’s example about as often as I’ve ignored the dispossessed around me. The kid apparently sacrificed his lunch for the hungry multitude, without complaint, tantrum or fear of his own tummy’s growling. I have sinned repeatedly, in this matter. Yes, surely out of fear and the "inconvenience" of getting out of the car, at a stop-light ... and on the way to Mass, yet. I pummel and I kill, I break the Fifth, left and right. I have no excuse. Lord have mercy.

Anonymous said...

"Let your alms grow damp with sweat in your hand, until you know who it is you are giving them to."
The Didache