Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

From Fr. James:

My grandmother spent her last years in a nursing home because she was unable to care for herself. Alzheimer’s completely sapped her joyful vitality and totally changed her personality.
Every time I went home to visit my parents, we would always spend time with my grandmother. The visits were always very sad. After my mother briefly reminded her as to whom we were, my grandmother would be delighted by our visits. The sadness was caused by what the illness had done to my grandmother.
The nurses at the nursing home were extraordinary women. In their own simple way, they would take care of every tiny detail of the patients. There were many other patients that were in worse shape than my grandmother. I often wondered how the nurses could be so cheerful and so loving in such a difficult environment.
One day, during one of our family visits, the nurse that always took care of my grandmother, told me that she could not wait to retire so that she could come back every day to the nursing home and spend her entire day with the patients at no charge to the home. She was so excited about the possibility of generously giving of herself without any restrictions.
This Sunday’s liturgy provides us with another wonderful opportunity to deepen our love for God and our neighbor.
In my opinion, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of the Prodigal Son, are Jesus’ greatest teachings, and clearly they are among the most beautiful passages of Sacred Scripture.
During the past few weeks, the Catholic liturgy has been presenting to us teachings on the essence of Christianity. Without a doubt, the parable of the Good Samaritan is a vital gospel narrative for our reflection. This Sunday’s parable teaches us how we are to love. The parable leaves no room for doubt. Anyone who is in need must be taken care of with profound magnanimity.
The magnanimous care that the Samaritan gives to the misfortunate man provides a model of how we are to care for all those who are in need. Christianity and egotism are diametrically opposed to each other.
Every one of the Samaritan’s actions is an act of profound magnanimity. The Samaritan is moved with compassion as he comes upon the man who has fallen into the hands of robbers. This movement of the heart is characteristic of the love that Jesus has for all humanity (see Luke 7: 11 – 17; 15: 20). It is precisely this movement of the heart that causes the Good Samaritan to do such loving acts of service and kindness. This movement of the heart causes him to come out of himself and give himself entirely to the needs of the man that he finds on the side of the road.
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the inn-keeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back’” (Luke 10: 33-35).
The acts of the Good Samaritan go beyond generosity. His magnanimity shows that there are no limits to his kindness and service.
The parable of the Good Samaritan demands that we live our lives in the same way. We cannot ignore the needs of anyone. Only those who are magnanimous servants of their neighbor are truly happy people.

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