by Fr Francis Anthony
Theme: Love God and Love Neighbour
In today’s Gospel text, the lawyer, he made himself to be the center and his question to Jesus was:-
Who is my neighbour? How far my relationship, my concern should extend?
He is the center. And when Jesus, after narrating the parable, he turned round and told him:-
Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands’ hands?
Who of the three acted as a neighbour? It is the outside that is important. The Priest, he was busy. The Levite, he was extra busy. The Samaritan on a journey to somewhere, he stopped. He acted as a neighbour to the one in need. And this should challenge us. We are so frequently saying “Love God, Love Neighbour“. Finished. It became a slogan. But the loving is demonstrated in action.
This particular Samaritan, when he saw that person and all the things that happened to him which did not happen to the Priest and the Levite, they passed by on the other side but this man when he saw that wounded man, he was first. Moved with compassion, he went up to him, bandaged the wound, poured oil and wine in the process. He lifted that person on his own beast or mount, took him to the inn, took care of him and the next day gave more money – take care of him.
So the love is demonstrated in action. Love is not just saying ‘I love you.’ How I go beyond my strength, my usual self, to reach out because you are my neighbour.
When I was preparing this, I am not going to be political but I was so proud. Jokowi, the President of Indonesia, going out of his way to mitigate peace with the Russian leader. It is so far away. He could have said ‘It is none of my business. I have got this G20 in my place, I have been busy with that.’ He went and for me, it was a great sign how the people should come together to stop this carnage that is taking place. We do not see it in person but the atrocities, I am not going to say who is right, who is wrong, but it is the ordinary people who are suffering. Let us have them in our mind as our neighbours.
And in the Opening Prayer, let us ask God to give us that same strength. The prayer goes like this:-
O God who showed the light of Your Truth to those who go astray
I will just simply say:- O God give me the strength to see the realities of the people around and help me to turn them into the right path, to the place of security and hope.
My dear friends, when we pray, let us not just articulate words. When we pray, ask God to give us the strength to make that prayer a reality in our lives. And the good example would be the common prayer we are so used to – The Lord’s Prayer. Let us ask God for the grace. We are not just going to vocalise ‘Thy will come, Thy kingdom come, forgive us our sin as we forgive’. But ask God to give us the strength to make this a reality.
Who is my neighbour? That is the arrogance of the lawyer but Jesus asked him to humble himself and to ask ‘To whom I have to be a neighbour?‘
Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-