(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" “The trouble with the world is me.” - St Catherine of Siena

Monday, October 8, 2012

No Good Samaritan Here!

Monday Musings
(If God used Balaam’s donkey to get that prophet’s attention, I guess he can use me to get yours. May these periodic Monday Musings generate fruitful discussion and faithful change.)


The parable of the Good Samaritan was the subject of today’s Gospel. I read it before leaving for early morning Mass.
As I was walking down the street, I thought I heard a voice. I heard it again and glanced toward the roadway. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a disheveled gray hair man carrying a plastic garbage bag over his shoulder and heard him say something – not sure what he said or to whom his comments were directed. I avoided any eye contact with him. He made me feel uncomfortable. All I could think was to get to the other side of the street. As I hurriedly did so, I gave a quick glance over my shoulder but no longer saw the man from whom I fled. Where did he go? Like the priest and Levite in today’s parable, I ignored the need of a neighbor and crossed the street to get away from him. Had I just walked away from Christ?


After arriving at Church, I glanced up and saw another gray haired and obvious homeless man stop in front of the altar and devoutly bow before the tabernacle. He then proceeded with his shopping cart, plastic bags and knapsack filled with his few earthly possessions and left the building. He didn’t ask anyone for anything. He received what He had come for – some time in the presence of His Lord and the grace to face another day.  Did I just see Christ again?
Two times this morning, I failed to recognize and love my Lord.
Will anyone recognize Christ in these men today as they walk the streets of this large impersonal city looking for some evidence of living faith among those who pass them by or will they avoid them and pass them by as did I, the priest and the Levite?

It is not often that one's failure to love is the specific subject of a homily.  May it never happen to me again! God have mercy on me a sinner.



  1. "God have mercy on me a sinner."

    I prefer suburban churches for this very reason, driving comfortably from home to parking lot, not walking past any homeless. I wasn't aware of my preference until I attended a noon service in a moderately-sized city at a church which offered a lunchtime soup kitchen. The needy were thick along the fence, in line, as I brushed past them with prayerbook in hand, on my way inside to kneel and pray. It's so awkward I haven't been back, but I thank God the church was serving them.


  2. I obsess all the time about what to do when I see the homeless. A handout is too easy to misuse, and isn't it just another way to keep the distance between me and them, anyway? But my children the other day taught me something amazing: they were waving and yelling "Hi" at the men standing at the intersection of the highway. At that moment I understood, 100%, what Jesus meant when he said we had to have faith like children.