A HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7.10.16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I know we’ve all heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan hundreds of times, but what a great story, huh? Jesus sets up the story and then asks us to choose which one of three, different people is a neighbor to the man who was beaten and robbed. This parable has always reminded me of the old game show, “Let’s Make A Deal!” On “Let’s Make A Deal!”, Monty Hall invited contestants to trade some common thing that they had with them, like chewing gum or an old tie, for whatever was behind doors number 1, number 2, and number 3. Now two of the doors had fantastic and very wonderful prizes, that all of us would like to win. But always behind one of the doors, was the bad deal, the prize nobody wants to win, the joke. On “Let’s Make A Deal!” with Monty Hall, you always wanted to choose well, so that you got one of the good prizes. With Jesus’ question about this Parable, you also feel like you must choose well. And with this Parable, Jesus is telling you who your first and second choices are, a priest and a Levite, two religious leaders of that day. The third choice was a Samaritan. Now, in Jesus’ time, Samaritans didn’t have the best reputations in the whole world. This is looking like an easy choice. The real neighbor to the man must be the priest or the Levite, because certainly the Samaritan has to be the bad deal. Wrong! Then you hear Jesus’ story, and you realize that neither the priest or the Levite do anything to take care of the man who has been robbed. It is the Good Samaritan that gets involved. It is the Good Samaritan that helps the man. It is the Good Samaritan that is the real neighbor.
We hear this story once again, and we have to ask ourselves, would we have stopped to help that man? Or would we, like the priest and the Levite, have crossed to the other side of the street, and tried to ignore the situation? Today, in 2016, are we more like the Good Samaritan, or are we more like the priest or the Levite? We must choose wisely!
This weekend, we continue to celebrate our Patroness, St. Maria Goretti. We know that her feast day was last Wednesday and that yesterday, we had our Italian Festival honoring her. With the St. Maria Goretti, it is very much the same as it is with the Good Samaritan. Today, in 2016, would we be able to choose to die, rather than to sin? Would we be able to stick with God, if we knew it was going to cost us our life? And would we be able to forgive someone who hurt us, or took our life, as Alessandro Serenelli did, St. Maria Goretti’s young life?
My brothers and sisters, today God is calling us to be more, to be better, to be that person that He created us to be. And yes, it does mean that we need to love our neighbors. And to love our neighbors does mean that our love and concern has got to be a whole lot more than nice words! We are to put our love and our Faith into action, as the Good Samaritan did, as St. Maria Goretti did!
The reality is that God is calling all of us to be saints! We’re not going to become saints by living the status quo. God calls us to love radically. God calls us to get involved. God calls us to get our hands dirty and get in there and make things better. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re just not going to be able to do anything if we are so busy running to the other side of the street, to ignore what’s going on. We’re not going to be able to do anything if we aren’t fighting sin, and sticking with God, and forgiving one another, as St. Maria Goretti did! These are days to boldly follow Christ! All lives matter! All lives matter! Even the lives, especially the lives, of those who defend and protect our communities. We’ve got to all become more like the Good Samaritan. And, the truth is that all of us should become a lot more like St. Maria Goretti too! We need to be real neighbors, all of us, in the world that we live in today. We can choose to make that happen. We can choose wisely every day, and make it a reality!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!