Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gift of Charity

Today's Gospel is one of my favorite. It is the story of the Good Samaritan. I think that it is so relate-able since we have been both the passerby, and the victim in the ditch. Like the lawyer we are sometimes left asking the question of who is my neighbor.

Father Henri Nouwen, way back in the late 1960s, wrote a book entitled, The Wounded Healer. Nouwen emphasizes that which is common in humanity, both to minister and believer, the experience of woundedness. This woundedness can serve as both a source of strength and healing when counseling others. When we are most aware of our own suffering, than too we become aware of the suffering world, family, generation, and all of the others. This is the starting point of our service to each other. Most importantly we can develop both challenges to each other, and modes of healing that will bring forth peace and consolation.

In those sadly familiar moments when I inspect the abyss between the holy desires God has placed deep in my soul, and the oft sorry fruit of them, I turn to the words of St. Paul who reminds us that we cannot reconcile this dilemma on our own. "It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in Him, and by means of Him to reconcile everything in His person, everything I say both on earth and in the heavens making peace through the blood of His cross."

Jesus was never fearful or hobbled in doing what was right and good. Even in moments whereas his 'good deeds' might be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Jesus remains the ultimate model of compassion and reconciliation. There is risk involved to be sure. On our own journey to Jerusalem we have a responsibility to one another. Sometimes it entails holding another's hand, while at other times we have to go down into the ditch to rescue someone. That is the cross.

When we begin to allow compassion and kindness to be part of our own persona, we will begin to see those robbed of justice and dignity, stripped of their spirituality and integrity, and left fro dead by society. We recognize neighborliness when we act like neighbors. What does it mean to act like a neighbor? To live in the realm of love and mercy.

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