Our meditation today challenges us to move from head knowledge to heart knowledge; from the religious to the spiritual; from armchair preachers and teachers to hands-on exemplars.
Today everything is too easy and comfortable. It has become fashionable to send out daily inspirational messages on WhatsApp and Facebook to friends and family, the only effort required is to forward and press the send button.
This reminds me of today’s gospel message. Here a scholar of the law, tries to test Jesus, to see how much He knows, and asks the question “Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?”.
So Jesus turns it back to him. The scholar rattles off … “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
“You have answered right,” said Jesus, “do this and life is yours”. It sounds easy like those instant inspirational messages but Jesus knows much is required for us to inherit eternal life.
So when Jesus told the scholar of the law what he had to do, he needed an excuse, so he picked on a part of the verse, which he felt would be hard for Jesus to explain: “And who is my neighbour?”.
Jesus in this text uses someone who was helpless, beaten up, left for dead, and to have a priest, then followed by a Levite, pass over this person, hearts must have been hard. Look around brothers and sisters, who is the Scripture referring to? Who is Jesus speaking about? It was not Church folks who came to the victim’s rescue!
It was a Samaritan traveller, who was moved with compassion. Sometimes to know someone’s situation you have to come upon them, and get close to them, because they would not shout out their misfortune and hopefully, like the Samaritan traveller you will be moved with compassion.
He took him to an inn and cared for him. The traveller made sure that the victim would be taken care of even in his absence. How fortunate and wonderful to be blessed like that!
Can you imagine what a parish, community, country we would have, if we loved our neighbour as we love ourselves? The Samaritan had the love of God in him. It is only when we are in that love relationship with God can we too show real love, act love and feel love.
When last did someone care for you? When last were you hurting and someone was there for you, to sit with you, to comfort you, to feed you, to embrace you, to laugh with you?
When last did someone go with you to a doctor’s appointment, a hospital visit, or call you when you felt low? Gave or loaned you money when you needed? Invited you over for a meal just to share? When last did you offer someone a ride home after church? Or visited the elderly, the sick and the dying…
Jesus asked the scholar which of the three, in his opinion was the neighbour to the victim? “The one who took pity on him,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Go, and do the same yourself.”
Let us have mercy on one another. Remember the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust, who are we to hold back mercy from one to another? Let us go out and work hard to inherit eternal life.
The Gospel Meditations for July are by Jemma Redman, founder of A Way of Living in Christ International, a spiritual support group for adults; the artistic director of the Southern Christian Drama Ministry, and a television co-host. She is a parishioner of St Peter’s RC Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, and St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.