“We are called God to lift each other’s lives”
Luke 10: 25-37
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
An eighty years old woman won the Power ball lottery $60million. His family was afraid to tell her since she has a heart problem and that the news might excite her and kill her. Hence they asked the parish priest to convey this news to her in a tactful way. The priest came and asked the old woman: ‘Friend, suppose you win in lottery a sum of $60 million – what would you do?’ The old woman said, “I would give you and the church half of it.” Hearing that, the parish priest fell over and died. That was a charity shock, too good to be true. If I happen to be that priest, don’t worry I will not die. I will have plans to use the money effectively.
In the Church Liturgical Cycle of readings, we always find the story of the Good Samaritan in Cycle C.
What does Jesus’ story tell us about true love for one’s neighbor?
First, love is our calling. We all have the call to love God, our neighbors just as we love ourselves.
We all want to love and be loved. Love’s greatness is beyond our imagining. We won’t see love in all its beauty until we see God who is love.
We are all called to be Good Samaritans. We are on the road to Jericho daily.
What day passes that we don’t meet one who needs a word of comfort, a helping hand, a word of caring?
When we come on our wounded fellow travelers, our love is tested. Love and suffering recognize one another as brother and sister.
What is love for but to bring aid and comfort and joy?
The suffering of others does us a service. There is love in us, but it is often chained up by selfishness.
When we see another so needy that our hearts go out to him, our love stirs like a sleeping giant and breaks its bonds and goes into action.
Suffering and need are opportunities to become the lovers God calls us to be. The compassion and mercy the Good Samaritan showed are the noblest forms of love.
What is compassion? If I see you hurting and I feel hurt too, that is compassion. And what is Mercy? If I act as best I can to remove your hurt, that is mercy.
We are all wounded healers. We know our own sins and feel our own inadequacies, and that inclines us to think that we can’t be of much help to others.
The truth is the very opposite. It seems to be a mystery of life that the wounded are the best healers.
Jesus himself is the wounded healer. He came to us in human form to feel our human suffering and gather them all to his shoulders that we may all be healed.
We, too, become healers by the very fact that we have been wounded. Who better understand wounds than the wounded? Who understands NEED better than one who has felt it? If we have suffered, sufferers see in our faces that we understand, and that is help already. I hail those who have been there, for they will rise stronger than they were.
There are those of us who are not used to be down so low for fear and shame surround them. But if they see that as a stepping stone to rise, they too, will become part of the wounded healers.
I have witnessed the wonderful works of the office of Wanda Nalls and Cassandra Wilson of the Daly City Community Service Center. They truly know the needs of those who are struck by life’s challenges. They are the Good Samaritans commissioned by San Mateo County to help the poor and the needy in the community.
I have also witnessed the wonderful works of the society of St. Vincent De Paul of San Mateo, who protects the women and their family from addictions and Domestic Violence.
I have witnessed the wonderful works of Samaritan House of San mateo who serves the low income families and individuals in providing assistance with Shelter, food and counseling to our needy neighbors.
Our very close partners, Seton Medical Center of Daly City and the daughters of charity spends millions of dollars for our low income and unfortunate in our community by providing them health services and connections with the community. They inspired our health and wellness Center here at Holy Child and St. Martin, who are called to service to our neighborhood in providing free blood pressure check up and health education.
These are all made possible by the Love of God who sustains and enables us to take care of each other.
We will love all our neighbors if we love God with a passion.
How else can we love God with our whole heart and soul and strength and mind? God is love, let us all be drawn to Him without hesitation or reservation. God’s love forgives, he understands and embraces us all with His arms regardless of who we are and what we have done.
We are all called to encourage each other, building each other up, challenge each other to reach for new heights. We should leave better off than we were previously.
Rather than feeling discouraged or defeated, we should feel challenged and inspired after spending any time with each other today in this Holy Place of God.
Be not obsessed on how you can make your own life better, think about how you can also make somebody else’s life better as well.
Let is be our attitude to say, “Who can I encourage somebody today?” “How can I be of service to others who may want to build and improve their lives just as I received mine from God?”
We all have something to offer. Don’t say, “I’m nobody and have nothing to offer” We always have something good to offer to somebody. Somebody needs to know that you believe in him or her, that you think he or she has what it takes to succeed.
If you look back over your own life, most likely you’ll find someone who played a pivotal role in helping you get where you are today. Maybe your parents or grand parents who had confidence in you and helped you believe in yourself.
Perhaps it was your boss who promoted you even though you didn’t feel qualified at the time. Or a school counselor who said, “You’ve got what it takes. You can go to this college, you can be successful in that career.” Maybe they saw something in you that you may not have seen in yourself, and they helped you get to that next level.
Now, it’s your turn to do something similar to somebody else. There’s no greater investment in life than being a people builder. Relationship is more important than our own accomplishments.
We are all created to build each other up. Merle Haggard, in his song wrote, “He who travels fastest goes alone” Let us all go to where God wants us be, together.
Let me end my short homily today by sharing a great theme I learned in my traveling to become a better man.
A great tenet of Freemasonry is summarized in this theme, “To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all good persons who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate with their miseries and to restore peace to their troubled minds is the great aim we have in view. On this basis, we form our friendship and establish our connections.”
We are all called to be neighbors to each other. We all take care of each other’s needs for we are all destined to endure the sufferings in this valleys of tears. We must love each other, compassionate to each other and merciful to each other until we all arrive to that destination God called us all to be, the place where there’s no more tears and pain, but only life everlasting.
“Lord God Heavenly Father, may your love always be the foundation of our lives. Free us from every fear and selfish-concern that we may freely give ourselves in loving service to others” Amen.