Pastor's Desk

“The Way of Love and Compassion”

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

     We have heard of the phrase “the road less travelled.” It is part of a longer sentence that reads: “Two roads diverged into the woods, and I – I took the one less travelled. And that has made all the difference.” That is the last sentence of a poem by Robert Frost. And that sentence summarizes what the poem is about. It is about the choices in life, and it is about the two choices. One is the well-travelled wide road which is an attractive choice. The other is hardly a trail and obviously more difficult and less appealing. The human inclination would be to go for the wide and easy road. That is the obvious choice, and many have chosen to go that way.
     The road less travelled obviously means difficulty. True, life is difficult, but once we see this truth, we rise above it.
     The lawyer in the Gospel asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. He answers his own question: “Love God and your neighbor as the covenant demands.”

 But then the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus does not directly answer his question. He points out instead the way of love and compassion.

     The Samaritan of the parable teaches the lesson by the person he is and by what he does; his actions speak louder than words. The Samaritan does not help the injured man to be noticed or even to be paid back. The man could have died. The Samaritan recognizes the dignity of life in the half-dead person lying on the side of the road and he simply cares for him, out of love and compassion for another human person. He feels a connection with another human person who is in need. He does not ask if he’s Jewish or a good man or even worthy of such care. The Good Samaritan does not make excuses, he simply tends to another’s need. The man just needs help, and the Samaritan enters his world; a world of pain and suffering, a world of rejection and hate, and he helps. The Samaritan helps the poor man at a cost to himself. It is a hated Samaritan who shows love and compassion and teaches this lesson.

     The lawyer asked Jesus “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus let the parable answer his question. And then Jesus had a question for him also – Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands?
The lawyer’s answer says it all – The one who took pity on him. This answer gives us all something to reflect on. The lawyer’s own answer also addressed what a true neighbor is. A true neighbor is one who has love and compassion for someone who is in need. A true neighbor is one who recognizes the dignity of life in another human person.
     The term “Good Samaritan” has come to stand for those who want to help others in need. Yes, Good Samaritans are those who take the road less travelled, in that, where others pass by those in need, they go, and reach out, and help!

     In walking this way, others will know us as Christians. But will they call us “Good Christians,” just as we call that Samaritan in the parable, the “Good Samaritan”?
To be a Christian is to make the choice of walking the way of Christianity, which is

always the road less travelled. But to be a “Good Christian,” that would mean that we embark on a more challenging way – the way of love and compassion.
     The way of love and compassion is a difficult road, and a road less travelled. But we walk that road because we are following Jesus, our “Good Shepherd” who is Love and Compassion, and He wants us to follow Him and to be a neighbor of love and compassion to all in need. God bless us, and all who show love and compassion!

 Dt 30:10-14

Col 1:15-20

Lk 10:25-37