POPE FRANCIS ON THE 15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 10 July 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
The Gospel of today’s Liturgy recounts the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) – we all know it. In the backdrop is the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Jericho along which lies a man who had been beaten badly and robbed by brigands. A priest passing by sees him but does not stop; he keeps on going. A Levite, someone who performed services in the temple, does the same thing. “But a Samaritan”, the Gospel says, “as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion” (v. 33). Let us not forget this word – “he had compassion on him”. This is what God feels every time he sees we are having a problem, we have sinned, we are experiencing misery. “He had compassion on him”. The Evangelist makes it a point to specify that this Samaritan was on a journey. So, even though he had his own plans and was heading toward a distant destination, that Samaritan does not come up with an excuse but allows himself to get involved, he allows himself to get involved with what had happened along the road. Let us think about this: isn’t the Lord teaching us to do just that? To look off into the distance, to our final destination, while paying close attention to the steps to take here and now in order to get there.
It is significant that the first Christians were called “disciples of the Way” (cf. Acts 9:2). In fact, the believer strongly resembles the Samaritan – like him, the believer is on a journey, is a wayfarer. The believer knows they have not “arrived”, but wants to learn each day, following the Lord Jesus who said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), “I am the way”. The disciple of Christ walks along following Him and thus becomes a “disciple of the Way”. He or she goes behind the Lord, is not sedentary, no, but is always on the way. Along the way, he or she meets people, heals the sick, visits villages and cities. This is what the Lord did, he was always on the move.
The “disciple of the Way”, that is, we Christians, observes, therefore, that his or her way of thinking and of acting gradually changes, becoming more and more conformed to that of the Master. Walking in the footsteps of Christ, the disciple becomes a wayfarer and – like the Samaritan – learns to see and to have compassion. He sees and has compassion on him. First of all, to see: their eyes are open to reality, not egoistically closed in on the circle of their own thoughts. Instead, the priest and the Levite see the unfortunate man, but they pass by as if they do not see him, they look the other way. The Gospel teaches us to see – it leads each of us to correctly understand reality, overcoming preconceptions and dogmatism each day. So many believers take refuge behind dogmatisms to defend themselves from reality. Then, it teaches us to follow Jesus, because following Jesus teaches us to have compassion – to see and to have compassion – to become aware of others, especially those who suffer, those who are in need, and to intervene like the Samaritan, not to pass by but to stop.
Faced with this Gospel parable, it can happen that we might blame others or blame ourselves, pointing fingers towards others, comparing them to the priest or the Levite – “That person, that person goes on, that one doesn’t stop…” – or even to blame ourselves, counting our own failures to pay attention to our neighbours. But I would like to suggest another type of exercise to you all, not one that finds fault, no. Certainly, we must recognize when we have been indifferent and have justified ourselves. But let us not stop there. We must acknowledge this, it is a mistake. But let us ask the Lord to help us overcome our selfish indifference and put ourselves on the Way. Let us ask him to see and to have compassion, this is a grace. We need to ask the Lord, “Lord, that I might see, that I might have compassions just like you see me and have compassion on me”. This is the prayer that I suggest to you today. “Lord, that I might see and have compassion just like you see me and have compassion on me” – that we might have compassion on those whom we encounter along the way, above all on those who suffer and are in need, to draw near to them and do what we can do to give them a hand. Many times, when I am with some Christian who comes to speak about spiritual things, I ask if they give alms. “Yes”, the person says to me.
“So, tell me, do you touch the hand of the person you gave the money to?”
“No, no, I throw it there.”
“And do you look into the eyes of that person?”
“No, it doesn’t cross my mind.”
If you give alms without touching the reality, without looking into the eyes of the person in need, those alms are for you, not for that person. Think about this. Do I touch misery, even the misery that I am helping? Do I look into the eyes of the people who suffer, of the people that I help? I leave you with this thought – to see and to have compassion.
May the Virgin Mary accompany us on this journey of growth. May she, who “shows us the Way”, that is Jesus, help us also to more and more become “disciples of the Way”.
Saint Peter’s Square
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 14 July 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today the Gospel presents the well-known parable of the “Good Samaritan” (cf. Lk 10:25-37). When questioned by a doctor of the law on what is necessary to inherit eternal life, Jesus invites him to find the answer in the Scriptures, and says: “You shall love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself” (v. 27). There were, however, different interpretations of who was intended as “neighbour”. In fact, that man also asks: “And who is my neighbour?” (v. 29). At this point, Jesus responds with the parable, this beautiful parable — I invite all of you to take up the Gospel today, the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10, verse 25. It is one of the most beautiful parables in the Gospel. And this parable has become the paradigm of Christian life. It has become the example of how a Christian should act. Thanks to the Gospel of Luke, we have this treasure.
The protagonist of the brief narrative is a Samaritan who, along the road encounters a man stripped and beaten by robbers, and takes care of him. We know that the Jews treated Samaritans with contempt, considering them as outsiders to the chosen people. Thus, it is no coincidence that Jesus chooses precisely a Samaritan as the positive character in the parable. In this way he seeks to overcome prejudice, by showing that even a foreigner, even one who does not know the true God and does not attend his temple, is capable of acting according to His will, showing compassion for a needy brother and helping him with all the means at his disposal.
Along that same road, before the Samaritan, a priest and a Levite had already passed — that is, people dedicated to the worship of God. However, on seeing the poor man on the ground, they continued on without stopping, probably so as not to be contaminated with his blood. They had prioritized a human rule — not to be contaminated with blood — linked to worship, over the great commandment of God who wants mercy above all.
Jesus therefore, offers the Samaritan as an example — precisely one who did not have faith! Let us also consider the many people we know, perhaps agnostics, who do good. As a model, Jesus chooses one who was not a man of faith. And this man, by loving his brother as himself, shows that he loves God with all his heart and with all his strength — the God whom he does not know! — and at the same time expresses true religiosity and full humanity.
After recounting this very beautiful parable, Jesus again addresses the doctor of the law who had asked Him “Who is my neighbour?”, and Jesus asks him: “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” (v. 36). In this way he throws the question back to his interlocutor, and also overturns the mindset of us all. He makes us understand that based on our criteria, it is not we who define who is neighbour and who is not, but it is the person in a situation of need who must be able to recognize who is his neighbour, that is, “the one who showed mercy on him” (v. 37). Being able to have compassion: this is the key. This is our key. If you do not feel compassion before a needy person, if your heart is not moved, it means that something is not right. Be careful; let us be careful.
Let us not allow ourselves to get carried away by egotistical insensitivity. The capacity for compassion has become the touchstone of Christians, indeed of the teachings of Jesus. Jesus himself is the Father’s compassion towards us. If you go along the street and see a homeless person lying there and pass him by without looking at him or you think: “well, it’s the effect of wine. He is a drunk”, do not ask yourself whether the man is drunk; ask yourself whether your heart has hardened, whether your heart has turned to ice. This conclusion indicates that mercy towards a human life in a state of need is the true face of love. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus and the face of the Father is manifested: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). And God, our Father, is merciful because he is compassionate. He is able to have this compassion, to draw near to our suffering, our sin, our vices, our miseries.
May the Virgin Mary help us to understand and above all to experience ever more the unbreakable bond between God, our Father, and concrete and generous love for our brothers and sisters, and may she give us the grace to be compassionate and to grow in compassion.
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 10 July 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today’s liturgy presents us with the parable of the “Good Samaritan”, taken from the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37). This passage, this simple and inspiring story, indicates a way of life, which has as its main point not ourselves, but others, with their difficulties, whom we encounter on our journey and who challenge us. Others challenge us. And when others do not challenge us, something is not right; something in the heart is not Christian. Jesus uses this parable in his dialogue with a lawyer when asked about the twofold commandment that allows us to enter into eternal life: to love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself (cf. vv. 25-28). “Yes”, the lawyer replies, “but, tell me, who is my neighbour?” (v. 29). We too can ask ourselves this question: Who is my neighbour? Who must I love as myself? My parents? My friends? My fellow countrymen? Those who belong to my religion?… Who is my neighbour?
Jesus responds with this parable. A man, along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, was attacked, beaten and abandoned by robbers. Along that road, a priest passed by, then a Levite, and upon seeing this wounded man, they did not stop, but walked straight past him (vv. 31-32). Then a Samaritan came by, that is, a resident of Samaria, a man who was therefore despised by the Jews because he did not practise the true religion; and yet he, upon seeing that poor wretched man, “had compassion. He went to him, bandaged his wounds […], brought him to an inn and took care of him” (vv. 33-34); and the next day he entrusted him to the care of the innkeeper, paid for him and said that he would pay for any further costs (cf. v. 35).
At this point, Jesus turns to the lawyer and asks him: “Which of these three — the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan — do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell victim to the robbers?”. And the lawyer, of course — because he was intelligent —, said in reply: “The one who had compassion on him” (vv. 36-37). In this way, Jesus completely overturned the lawyer’s initial perspective — as well as our own! —: I must not categorize others in order to decide who is my neighbour and who is not. It is up to me whether to be a neighbour or not — the decision is mine — it is up to me whether or not to be a neighbour to those whom I encounter who need help, even if they are strangers or perhaps hostile. And Jesus concludes, saying: “Go and do likewise” (v. 37). What a great lesson! And he repeats it to each of us: “Go and do likewise”, be a neighbour to the brother or sister whom you see in trouble. “Go and do likewise”. Do good works, don’t just say words that are gone with the wind. A song comes to mind: “Words, words, words”. No. Works, works. And through the good works that we carry out with love and joy towards others, our faith emerges and bears fruit. Let us ask ourselves — each of us responding in his own heart — let us ask ourselves: Is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or is it sterile instead, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I act as a neighbour or simply pass by? Am I one of those who selects people according to my own liking? It is good to ask ourselves these questions, and to ask them often, because in the end we will be judged on the works of mercy. The Lord will say to us: Do you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man who was half dead was me. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? That immigrant who many wanted to drive away, that was me. That grandparent who was alone, abandoned in nursing homes, that was me. That sick man, alone in the hospital, who no one visited, that was me.
May the Virgin Mary help us to walk along the path of love, love that is generous towards others, the way of the Good Samaritan. My she help us to live the first commandment that Christ left us. This is the way to enter into eternal life.
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 14 July 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
Today’s Gospel — we are at Chapter 10 of Luke — is the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. Who was this man? He was an ordinary person coming down from Jerusalem on his way to Jericho on the road that crosses the Judean Desert. A short time before, on that road a man had been attacked by brigands, robbed, beaten and left half dead by the wayside. Before the Samaritan arrived, a priest as well as a Levite had passed by, that is, two people associated with worship in the Lord’s Temple. They saw the poor man, but passed him by without stopping. Instead, when the Samaritan saw that man, “he had compassion” (Lk 10:33), the Gospel says. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; then he set him on his own mount, took him to an inn and paid for his board and lodging… in short, he took care of him: this is the example of love of neighbour. However, why does Jesus choose a Samaritan to play the lead in the parable? Because Samaritans were despised by Jews on account of their different religious traditions; and yet Jesus shows that the heart of that Samaritan was good and generous and that — unlike the priest and the Levite — he puts into practice the will of God who wants mercy rather than sacrifices (cf. Mk 12:33). God always wants mercy and does not condemn it in anyone. He wants heartfelt mercy because he is merciful and can understand well our misery, our difficulties and also our sins. He gives all of us this merciful heart of his! The Samaritan does precisely this: he really imitates the mercy of God, mercy for those in need.
A man who lived to the full this Gospel of the Good Samaritan is the Saint we are commemorating today: St Camillus de Lellis, Founder of the Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick, Patron of ill people and health-care workers. St Camillus died on 14 July 1614: this very day his fourth centenary is being inaugurated and will end in a year. I greet with deep affection all the spiritual sons and daughters of St Camillus who live by his charism of charity in daily contact with the sick. Be “Good Samaritans” as he was! And I hope that doctors, nurses and all those who work in hospitals and clinics may also be inspired by the same spirit. Let us entrust this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy.
Moreover I would like to entrust another intention to Our Lady, together with you all. The World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro is now at hand. One can see that there are many young people here, but you are all young at heart! I shall leave in a week, but many young people will set out for Brazil even sooner. Let us therefore pray for this great pilgrimage which is beginning, that Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, may guide the footsteps of the participants and open their hearts to accepting the mission that Christ will give them.
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