Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Friday, August 21, 2015

Homily - Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - August 16, 2015

2 Cor. 3:4-7; Lk. 10:23-37

You may recall in the letters of St. Paul his difficulty with the Judaisers.  After announcing the Gospel in the missionary areas, there were those who insisted that the new converts observe the Jewish law.  Some commentators say this was because it was easier to follow the old law with its clear formulations than the subtleties of the new law.  And yet, as St. Paul says in the epistle today, the letter kills but the spirit gives life.  St. Augustine echoes this when he says that the old law gave us knowledge of sin but could not take away sin.

What we have in today’s Gospel, is just such a norm, as it were, of the new law, of the New Testament.  And it is very instructive, as we unfold it.  The lawyer has asked our Lord the question, what must I do to enter eternal life?  The lawyer distills the old law, to the love of God and neighbor.  Then he asks, who is my neighbor?  And the Lord tells this parable.

It is ironic that, if the man who fell in with robbers was an Israelite, which he probably was, that the priest and the Levite, who were born as kin to him, did not stop to attend to him.  They were not his neighbor.  But the Samaritan, the stranger, the outsider, was neighbor to the man who fell in with thieves.  Our neighbor is the one we happen upon.  And the Samaritan attends to him spontaneously, magnanimously, and effectively.  He shows compassion, he has mercy on the man.  This is what it means to love God and neighbor.

But at the center of the Gospel is this poor lawyer.  It is remarkable that he knows so well the words, to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself, but he has no idea what these words mean.  He has to ask, who is my neighbor?  He is paralyzed.  We get the impression that had he been the one to happen upon the man who had fallen in with thieves, he would have had to take out his book and look it up, or study up on it, is this my neighbor?  But even him Lord does not leave behind.

It would have helped him, and it helps us, to know that, in this parable, Christ is the Good Samaritan.  He is the one who has come down, not from Jerusalem to Jericho, but from heaven to earth in His birth and incarnation.  He has encountered us and all humanity, wounded by sin and weakness.  He has stopped to attend to us, hoisting us upon His beast, that is, the cross, leaving us in the inn, the Church, to be cared for, with these two pence, love of God and love of neighbor, and returning, will pay the difference, and will reward with eternal life those who have used these gifts wisely.

There is hope for the lawyer.  When asked who was neighbor to the man who fell in with robbers, he did not say, the Samaritan.  That would have put the neighbor outside of himself.  But he said, the one who showed him compassion.  Our Lord, through this parable, touched the heart of the lawyer in that place where compassion and mercy lie.

Two of the most beautiful words in the Mass are, for you:  this is My Body, for you, this is My Blood, for you.  In a world in which so many are about, for me, for me, for me, this is a wonderful expression of our Lord’s divinity.  He came for us, for you, for you, for you, for all humanity.  What He wants the lawyer in today’s Gospel to know, and us, as well, is that He has shown us His mercy and compassion.  And He says, go and do likewise, and you shall have eternal life.