15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C


     As I reflect on this past week’s shootings in Dallas and here in Ballwin, I can’t help but be reminded that there are allot of hurting people in our world; allot of wounded souls that need healing and I believe today’s Parable of the Good Samaritan gives us insight into how to receive that healing.

     So often when we hear a familiar Gospel passage, we can be tempted to gloss over it, assuming we already know the teaching behind it. Yet the Scriptures are an inexhaustible well of spiritual nourishment which always have new insights for us. If you are anything like me, when we hear today’s parable of the Good Samaritan we can be tempted to immediately identify ourselves with the Samaritan who helps the victim on the side of the street, but if we step back for a moment and look at this parable from a different angle I think we can also see ourselves as that victim left for dead on the side of the road.

     Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us have been robbed and left for dead on the side of the street. All of us have some kind of baggage which we need to be freed from. Perhaps we have been hurt by a close friend or family member; perhaps there is some kind of addiction or sin in our lives that we cannot break away from, or perhaps we are struggling to forgive someone or move past an old hurt. In one way or another we have been robbed and are lying on the side of the road waiting for the Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ, to come and save us. Friends, God enters into our daily world because He loves us. He knows our brokenness and our need of healing, He knows we have been robbed and like a good father He does not chide us for falling into the hands of robbers, but rather runs towards us to bring us healing.

     All we have to do is look up at the crucifix to see that God loves us. He sent His only Son into the world to save us. Yet for some reason there can be a tendency to bury those areas that need healing deep down, hoping no one will find them. Friends, God knows everything, He knows our deepest areas of hurt, so why not let Him pick you up and heal you? For only when we allow God to become the Good Samaritan of our lives can we find the healing and peace He desires for our life.

     Today’s parable shows us how God wants to heal us. Did you notice the setting of today’s parable? Jesus tells us that the victim was found on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. Jerusalem is considered the heavenly city. Jesus meets the victim and each of us on the road to heaven. When the Good Samaritan comes across the victim he bandages his wounds. Jesus used this same language of binding when He gave His apostles the power to forgive sins, saying “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Jesus wants to heal us through the Sacrament of Confession. Have you brought your hurts to Confession so that the Divine Physician can heal them? “The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better.”[1] Why not let Him loosen those things that weigh us down in the Sacrament of Confession?

     Next the Good Samaritan fills the victim’s wounds with oil. In the ancient world oil was used as medicine. In anointing the man with oil, Jesus not only brings the victim physical healing, but also spiritual healing. Do we not also receive that spiritual healing when we are baptized, confirmed and receive the anointing of the sick?

     Thirdly the Good Samaritan fills the man’s wounds with wine. Wine was used in the ancient world as an antiseptic, but it is also wine which becomes Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at Mass. Just as the victim had his wounds cleansed with wine, every time we come to Holy Communion, Jesus’ divine life cleanses our wounds. Every time we receive Holy Communion, the Divine Physician comes to dwell within our brokenness. When we come to Mass do we present our brokenness to God or do we try to hold back pretending everything is ok?

     Lastly the Good Samaritan takes the victim to the inn so he can recover in safety. Friends, the Church, is our inn. The Church is not a hall of fame for sinners, but rather a hospital for sinners. It is here in our Church that we find healing for all of our wounds.

     “The root of all our unhappiness is the result of sin and its effects. The sooner we are free from the distortions and crippling of sin the sooner we will experience fuller joy and freedom as sons and daughters of God and be able more and more to be a blessing to others.”[2] The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that Jesus meets us in the sacraments where He restores us to wholeness in the sacraments. He restores us to the life of grace and His divine presence into our lives. Jesus holds out healing for us in the sacraments, but we have to make use of them.

     If you find yourself stuck, not sure how to move forward with some of the wounds in your life why not bring them to an encounter with God in the sacraments. After all what do you have to lose? Either we can let Jesus in or we can continue to lie paralyzed on the road to heaven. You know the victim deserves some credit, he allowed a stranger to help him in his time of need. Will you let your Heavenly Father, heal those areas of brokenness in your life.

[1] Pope Francis, Interview with Father Antonio Spadaro. September 21, 2013. https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/september/documents/papa-francesco_20130921_intervista-spadaro.html

[2] Ralph Martin. The Fulfillment of All Desire. Steubenville: Emmaus Road Publishing. (2006) Pg. 352.


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