Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today each and every one of us as Christians are reminded to be full of love for the Lord and for our fellow brothers and sisters, as we are called to obey the word of God and His commandments, and are reminded to do what He has taught us to do, and even what He Himself had done for our sake. We are reminded of what it truly means for us to be Christians, not just in name only, but also in real deeds and actions. Otherwise, if we do not do as we are supposed to, then we are no better than hypocrites, and our empty and dead faith will avail us not on the day of Judgment.
In our first reading today we heard from the words of the Apostle St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful people of God in Galatia. The Apostle was reminding the people of God that there was the need for them to adhere closely to the truth and the message of the Gospels and whatever that he and the other missionaries of the Lord had delivered to them. At that time, the people were easily swayed by the teachings of the false prophets and messengers, all those who came up with their own interpretations and ideas not inspired by the truth of God and the Holy Spirit, by those who sought to subvert the truth and the message of the Gospels for their own selfish desires and purposes.
That is exactly what would happen to the various communities of the Lord’s faithful across the many centuries afterwards, as the history of the Church can testify to us, how there were various false teachings and heretical thoughts and ideas that sprung forth and not founded upon the truth and the traditions handed down through the Church from the Lord and His Apostles. Those false teachers and preachers spoke of values and teachings contrary to the way of the Lord, and instead following their own worldly and mistaken ways. And thus we heard one of the Lord’s true teachings being highlighted in our Gospel passage today, in the story of the parable of the Good Samaritan, which I am sure many of us are well aware of.
In that parable of the Good Samaritan, we heard of how a man from Jericho, a Jew was beset by bandits and was left to die. A priest and a Levite passed by and ignored the man’s plight while a Samaritan was eventually the one who took care of the man but not only that, as the Samaritan went the extra mile in trying to help the man, and helped the man in his hour of greatest need, caring for him and told the innkeeper to provide extra care as much as needed, and that he would return for him no matter what. This is what I meant by the true Christian values and teachings that each one of us have been called to uphold and proclaim, and to practice and do in our respective lives.
At that time, the priests and the Levites were the elites and the most well-respected within the Jewish community, while on the other hand the Samaritans were greatly despised and hated, and no Jew of good standing at that time would want anything to do with a Samaritan. All of these happened because of the historical enmity and misunderstandings between both the Jewish people and the Samaritans, as each one of them claimed to be the authentic and true heirs of the people of God of old, of the old kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the past. The Jews of course claimed that they were the rightful descendants of Israel, having been descended from the exiles of Israel and Judah, while the Samaritans claimed that they had lived in their lands since the days of the Israelites of old.
These struggles and misunderstandings meant that the Samaritans were deeply mistrusted, prejudiced against and despised as mentioned. And yet, it was the Samaritan man who actually went out of his way to help the Jewish man, in loving and caring for him even when he was not obliged to do so. He went beyond and cared for the man anyway. That is what Christian charity and love is all about, brothers and sisters in Christ, and what we are all called and expected to do as followers and disciples of Christ, our Lord and Saviour. For the Lord Himself did that as well, extending His love to us when He was not obliged to, and cared for us deeply.
He shouldered the burdens of our sins willingly, the punishments and humiliations, the scourges and tortures, and all of that and more, so that through all of them, we may receive the sure guarantee of eternal life and salvation through Him. Christ bore the punishment of sins for us, was beaten, humiliated and scourged for us, so that by His suffering and death, we who believe in Him and put our faith in Him will be freed from our fated eternal damnation because of our sins and disobedience against God. We should have perished as the Jewish man from Jericho should have perished, and yet, our Lord, like the Good Samaritan, came to us, brought us back to new life through Him, and gave us hope and strength.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today as we listened to these readings from the Scriptures and remembering the great love by which God cared for us and loved us, let us all hence strive to be ever better and more committed disciples and followers of our Lord in all things. Let us all strive to love Him all the more, distancing ourselves from wicked and sinful ways. And most importantly, let us all heed His own examples in loving us, and the story of the Good Samaritan, for us to love one another in the same way, to love without boundaries and prejudices, and to love generously and sincerely without considerations for our backgrounds, origins, status or other things that often shaped our way of interacting with each other.
Let us all be genuine Christians in all things, so that in everything we say and do, we will always proclaim the glory of God through our lives and examples. May all of us remain faithful to our mission and calling in life, and to be ever dedicated and faithful to God and His ways. May God bless us always, in all things, now and forevermore. Amen.