The bible is something amazing, it is not an ordinary book, it is the Word of God and in these words, there is life. Beautiful and spirit-filled life-giving words.
As we observe Bible Sunday (10 July 2016), we are invited yet again to pick up the bible and to read it to let the words dwell in our hearts. It is amazing to be able to identify with the different authors in the bible as it is relatable in today’s modern context to every worldly problem there is. But first, we must read to understand and then we can apply the teachings in reality.
In this week’s gospel reading, Jesus is again tested by someone, this time a scholar of the law. He said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”He replied to him,”You have answered correctly; do this and you will live”(Luke 10:25-37).
Jesus made a large sacrifice when he died for our sins on the cross and was sent by God to redeem the fallen world. Like us, he was tested by many people but he spoke the truth and never wavered from it. We are capable of love but Jesus invites us to keep his teachings close to us and also to go one step further. That step is to increase our levels of compassion and kindness to love the people around us. By increasing this circle of love, Jesus says to us that we will feel alive and that is how he wants us to live.
The second part of the gospel reading has Jesus telling us the parable of the Good Samaritan who helped a man on the road that fell victim to robbers. Are we striving to be like the Good Samaritan? “But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two sliver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,”Take care of him.If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back”(Luke 10:25-37).
Our actions define who we are. It is the first step of saying thank you to the cleaners who clear our dishes at the food court, helping the poor in our midst and administering to those who need help the most like the victim. Helping others is really being a good neighbor and the invitation that Jesus reminds us is “Love your neighbor as I have loved you and also to be a neighbour to others.” It is simple, yet easily forgotten.
It also calls for great tolerance such as to parents of young children who cry in Church or even Special Needs parishioners. Do we turn to them in disgust or irritation? Or do we empathize with them? It can be a tough situation to be in and it takes great compassion to understand their situation. It is for the purpose of building of an inclusive society that Pope Francis is speaking about in today’s context. Nobody should be deprived of the love and compassion of Jesus in any given situation. Rather, Jesus sends us, his disciples, to reach out to them and give them hope to see the positiveness and light in humanity.
The inn represents the shelter people who are oppressed by society yearn for; through Jesus and our determination, it is possible. Jesus then asked the scholar,”Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbour to the robbers’ victim?”He answered,”The one who treated him with mercy.”Jesus said to him,”Go and do likewise (Luke 10:25-37).”
The words of Jesus carry life and we must give this life to people in trying our best to help people, to do good, to do better and to do so with mercy and compassion. Even if it is just towards one person, being a neighbour is already being carried out as it is a genuine and sincere act as exemplified by the Good Samaritan.
As I begin a new semester, I will keep this hymn”With One Voice” in my heart as I try to live out the word of God and to also bear the crosses each day with fortitude and compassion. Though the road is long and weary, help is definitely plentiful.
“Go and do likewise”
God Bless! as we pray for the graces that God has bestowed on us as we remain grateful to him for the help given to us.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong