Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The newspaper articles during this week have read: “where do we go from here?” After the incidents of the past two weeks—continued violence against black men and police officers, ISIL bombings in the Middle East, political paralysis and fear, and continued refugee concerns—it is a warranted question. Where do we go from here?
For us Christians, our answer always begins and ends with Jesus. We know that any answer that does not contain the contours of Jesus’ life in his love and service, his suffering and death, and his resurrection are incomplete responses. Pope Francis has captured the response of the Church in the image of a “field hospital.” A field hospital’s workers are bruised and bandaged as much as the patients to which they attend. The workers are physically close to those that suffer; as a result, they invite discomfort, doubts, fears, exhaustion, and similar wounds from staying close to the vulnerable.
The parable of the Good Samaritan in our Gospel today embodies this model of the Church as a “field hospital.” The Samaritan acts like a neighbor to the man from Judah who would have been a person to be scorned or avoided. He accepted discomfort. From seeing the traveler in the ditch, bruised and bleeding, the Samaritan bothers to help. He accepted a commitment. By stopping to help, he did not have any guarantees the robbers were going to harm him as well. The Samaritan accepted his fears and risked his safety. The Lord leads us in the call to be a neighbor to understand and accept the circumstances of the wounded in the world.
The parable of the Good Samaritan does not offer us “a way forward” as much as a way to be in the place of suffering with others. If we do not start with being a neighbor first, like Jesus who took on our humanity, we will not find the place for which we are looking.
How have I been bruised or wounded in Jesus’ call to me to be a neighbor to others?