Monday, 8 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture, reminding us that we must stay rooted and true to the core message of what the Lord has taught us to do. Our faith is about believing in God and in doing what He has showed us to do, and the core of our faith, is in truth, about love. Loving God and loving one another are the two most important commandments of the Law, which the Lord Jesus mentioned to the teacher of the Law who asked Him what is the most important commandment of the Law.

In the Gospel passage today, we listened to the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Lord Jesus told us about a person who was attacked as he was on his way to Jericho, and left for dead by the roadside. No one bothered to help him or to assist him, even the priest and the Levites, who were those considered to be good and worthy among the members of the community. Instead, it was a Samaritan who stopped by and helped the man.

This parable today served as a reminder at the time of the Lord Jesus, in a community which was bitterly divided among themselves and with their neighbours, that is between the Jewish people, descendants of those Israelites especially of the southern kingdom of Judah who returned from the exile in Babylon, and the Samaritans, who were descended from the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, who intermarried with some of the local people of Canaan.

The two people were bitterly divided among themselves and accused each other of not having the faith in the One Lord in Whom they each believed in their own ways. In another occasion in the Gospels, when the Lord spoke with a Samaritan woman by the well of Jacob in Samaria, the Samaritan woman explained clearly what divided and made the Jews and the Samaritans, that is, their differing views on how they ought to believe in God and on where they should worship God, a prejudice and bias that lasted hundreds of years.

That was why they were so much against each other, and refused to listen to reason in their dealings with one another. In fact, it was so bad that the Samaritans would not have anything to do with a Jew and likewise, a Jew would also ignore and not have anything to do with a Samaritan. The Samaritan woman was genuinely surprised when she was greeted by the Lord Jesus, as it was not something which was common or acceptable at the time.

Now, the Lord Jesus used the example of the Good Samaritan, in order to break down these barriers and unfortunate divisions that have kept the people of God separated, and even bitter and angry against each other for so long, for so many years. God wanted His people to come together and overcoming their differences, and all the negative emotions and balances accumulated for those years, and changing them all with love.

That is after all, what God has made it clear, as He revealed it to us through His own Son, that love, is the heart and the centre of the Law, which He has given to us. There is no more important commandment of God other than first and foremost, for us to love God with all of our strength and abilities. If we do not love God, then we cannot have faith in Him or have anything to do with Him, and then, if we love God, then we must also love our brothers and sisters in our midst, for if we love God, we must then also love our fellow men.

Why is that so? That is because, all of us have been created by God out of His great love for us, and not just a few among us, but for every single one of us. If God loves everyone, even to the greatest of sinners, then who are we to hate one another, or to condemn those who we think are less worthy than us just because of their faults and sins to us? God wants us to abandon this mentality which the Jews and the Samaritans used to have for one another, in their hatred and refusal to come together and love each other.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us have plenty of blame in this regard as well, in how we live our lives as Christians and therefore as the members of the one Church of God. How many of us have often been prejudiced against others, even within our Church groups and ministries. We ended up gossiping and talking badly, or even treating others in manners which if we look back and think carefully about it, are not Christian at all in nature.

Now, let us all contemplate on this, and remember all the shortcomings we have committed thus far, all the prejudices and biases which we often have, as well as our failures to love one another as the Lord has taught us to do. Let us all overcome our human pride, our prejudices and all the other wicked behaviours within us, that we may turn away from sin, and from all the wayward attitudes we have shown in life thus far. Let us turn from now on, wholeheartedly towards God, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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