Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What we didn't hear in Today's Gospel Reading.

Did you hear this (or the NAB version thereof)?

"And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among those driven to desperation by societal oppression, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain plutocrat went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a traditionalist, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Social Justice/Liberation Theologist being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, took out his Health Ministry Card, and he read therefrom: and setting him upon the beast provided him by the Beast of Burden Bureau, brought him to a State Run Caref Facility, and made sure government approved personnel took care of him. And the next day he took out two vouchers issued him by the Health Ministry, and gave to the Assistant Manager, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will fill out the requisite reimbursement forms for thee."

No?

Well, my guess is that unless you hear Mass in one of the more extremely benighted places in Catholic-dom, you didn't.

You probably got something like:

"And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."

Notice something? Notice that the Good Samaritan not only was kind and compassionate and merciful to the man waylaid by robbers...he was kind and compassionate and merciful because he used his own property to help his fellow man in his hour of need. He didn't demand that something be done. He didn't publish long and tortured exegeses on what the Mosaic Law demanded be done for those waylaid by robbers. He didn't hunt down the priest and/or the Levite and insist they help. He used his goods to help by himself.

This is what we are called to do. Act individually for the good. Not to "support" things, but to do things. This is probably the hardest thing about Christianity, in that it demands that we, individually, turn, repent, forgive, i.e., do stuff. It explicitly demands we do not hide behind others or blend into the crowd in regards to following the commands set down by Christ. It's like when you and your friends are moving a heavy couch. You know the opportunity exists for someone to slack in his share of the burden. But when it's just you moving something you have been commanded to move, there is -- quite literally -- nowhere to hide.

The Samaritan, Levite and priest had nowhere to hide and thus their reactions become painfully plain for all to see and, by extension, OUR actions become plain.

So, knowing that we cannot be camouflaged from God's eyes, let's act accordingly.

-J.