Turn to the Lord in Your Need, and You Will Live: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Turn to the Lord in Your Need, and You Will Live
You may be familiar with the parable Jesus tells us in the gospel today; however, I ask you to rethink it accordingly.
The man who fell in with robbers is you and me. We have been beaten and robbed on so many levels. Some of us have been robbed of the innocence of our youth by abuse or bullying or both. Some of us have literally been robbed by people who cheated us, treated us unfairly. Some of us have suffered because of the sinful actions WE have chosen. We have been robbed of relationships, our health, of a peaceful life because of bad choices we’ve made. Sometimes THESE hurts are the worst of all because we’ve done them to ourselves. Each of us, at one point or another in our lives, has been that man lying on the side of the road, with no one to help him.
The people who pass by on the road are those who could’ve helped us; however they didn’t help. Maybe it was our parents who had their own problems. They didn’t realize what we were going through. Perhaps they were teachers or priests who couldn’t look past our unruly behavior. They did not see we were hurting. When we needed compassion and empathy, they looked down on us, judged us. Maybe they were people we turned to for help but who just took advantage of us, kicked us when we were down. At one point or another, all of us know what it is like to have no one around to help. Worse still, we know what it’s like to have people walk by and not care enough to help.
The good Samaritan is Jesus. He comes to us when we have hit rock bottom. When we have exhausted all our options, have nowhere else to turn, he stoops down to pick us up, to take care of us, to bring us back to life.
Maybe some of you feel like the man left for dead on the side of the road. You might feel rejected, abandoned, as if nobody cares, like you are invisible. You may think you are out of options. But there IS hope. Jesus is reaching out his hand to you. He wants to lift you up, carry you to where you need to go. Open your heart, let him in. He will begin to heal you. As we sang together in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.” The journey of healing and transformation can be long. Jesus will never abandon you. Even when YOU lose your way, HE will find you.
The good Samaritan pours oil and wine into the victim’s wounds and bandages them. The oil and wine represent the sacraments Jesus has given us for our healing. The first sacrament is baptism. It washes away our sins, brings us into the family of God, makes us daughters and sons of God. Then, the sacrament of confession is a way Jesus heals us by showing us his mercy when we have sinned. In Holy Communion, Jesus gives us his Body and Blood to strengthen and nourish us on our journey to healing and holiness. When we are broken, feeling battered, when we are weighed down with guilt and shame, we can find forgiveness in the sacrament of confession. Then receiving Holy Communion restores our communion with Jesus, our relationship with him. By receiving these two sacraments frequently, our wounds are bandaged, our health is restored.
The good Samaritan brings the man to an inn where he leaves him in the care of the innkeeper. The inn represents the Church. The innkeeper represents the people of the Church who are meant to take care of the poor, the wounded, the needy. Pope Francis says the Church is a field hospital where each of us are called “to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.”
These are beautiful images of what it means for us to be the baptized People of God. We are meant to be a place where people can find refreshment, relief in a world that constantly beats us down. In the midst of a society telling us only the rich and powerful matter, we discover, in this sacred space, we are loved unconditionally by the God who created us.
When we are told we are worthless or have ruined our lives by our bad behavior, we learn there is no sin which cannot be forgiven and no person who doesn’t matter. – HERE – we find a place where we belong, no matter who we are, no matter what we have done, no matter how bruised we are. Here, in the presence of the risen Lord, we find healing.