Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [c]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 5, 2010

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

July 11, 2010


Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Colossians 1:15-20

Luke 10:25-37


July 11 Anniversary of Srebrenica Slaughter in Bosnia (2010 is the 15th anniversary)

July 14: Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha,

(the first Native American to be named blessed and the “patron saint of ecology and the environment”)

July 18: Birthday of Nelson Mandela


   The first question which the priest and the Levite asked [on the Jericho Road] was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?'  But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

   The story of the Good Samaritan, who did all he could to help a victim of crime, a stranger, is a model for us today. We must be willing to stop and help victims of crime recover from their physical and emotional wounds.

      Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration:

A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice,

A Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States

   The Christian lives under the interior law of liberty, which is a permanent call to us to turn away from self-sufficiency to confidence in God and from concern for self to a sincere love of neighbor. 

Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 33-34

   The Old Testament prophets emphasize that worship and prayer are not pleasing to God unless they are accompanied by practical works of justice and charity. … we must acknowledge the call to commit ourselves ever more generously to working for justice and the liberation of the oppressed.

                                                John Paul II, General Audience, Jan. 10, 2001

  From century to century the Christian community, in revealing and communicating its healing love and the consolation of Jesus Christ, has reenacted the gospel parable of the Good Samaritan in caring for the vast multitude of persons who are sick and suffering. This came about through the untiring commitment of all those who have taken care of the sick and suffering as a result of science and the medical arts as well as the skilled and generous service of healthcare workers.

John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 53

Thoughts for your consideration


At the end of the story Jesus simply says, “Go and do likewise.”

Love God and love neighbor.

Take care of those in need.

Take a risk to offer help.

Even take care of those who are of a different group than your group.

The “Good Samaritan” story calls us to reflect on many aspects of Catholic Social Teaching – the dignity of every human person, the option for the poor and all those in need, the principle of solidarity, the connection between love of God and love of neighbor, and other themes as well. (In light of current public policy discussions, it might even invite us to reflect on what our social teaching says to us about immigration reform.)


Jesus is asked: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” It seems that eternal life begins to happen when two things come together: love of God and love of neighbor. One alone is not enough to really be alive – to really have eternal life.

Jesus is asked:  “Who is my neighbor?”  The neighbor turns out to be unexpected – to be the Samaritan – the foreigner – the one who goes out of the way to reach out to the person who needs help. The neighbor turns out to be the person in need – the unknown person in need on the side of the road.   The neighbor turns out to be the traveler who takes a risk and stops and helps out a person in need.


The first reading reminds us that being neighbor is not always something that requires us to go to some far away place or special situation.  It is possible and it can happen in your own local neighborhood. “It is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out." Being neighbor is not something for saints alone.  All of us can be neighbor to each other. All of us can move beyond our self with the power and vision of our God.



The Samaritan stops to take care of someone bleeding on the side of the road. Maybe it is a little bit of a stretch, but we might say that today “the earth is bleeding” in the Gulf of Mexico.  We are “walking by.”  What do we do?  Can we try to stop the bleeding and repair the earth? Are we called to reflect on why the bleeding started?  Are we called to change how we live and get energy so as to not continue to have to engage in risky drilling practices? What can we do? What can we learn?  How can we be like the Samaritan today?


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you discovered an unexpected neighbor?

When have you been in need and received care from an unexpected person or group? 

When have you given care to someone who was not of “your group” or was “not of your liking?”


Actions - Links

Human Trafficking

In June, the US State Department issued its tenth annual “Trafficking in Persons Report.” You can read it at


Immigration Reform

On July 1, 2010 President Obama gave a major speech on immigration reform.  The Catholic Church has been addressing this issue for a long time.

  • “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) has partnered with The Catholic University of America to develop an educational Website that highlights the significant role that the U.S. Catholic bishops and the institutional Church in the United States have played on immigration related issues, especially since the early twentieth century.” The Website, “U.S. Catholic Bishops and Immigration,” can be found at
  • Justice for Immigrants is the United States Catholic Church’s effort to educate around this issue and to advocate for policy changes.  Their website is at



“Crazy Facts”


Human Trafficking By The Numbers from Trafficking in Persons Report 2010


Adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world: 12.3 million

Successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009: 4,166

Successful prosecutions related to forced labor: 335

Victims identified: 49,105

Ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified, as a percentage: 8.5

Ratio of victims identified to estimated victims, as a percentage: 0.4

Countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol: 62

Countries without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportation: 104

Prevalence of trafficking victims in the world: 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants

Prevalence of trafficking victims in Asia and the Pacific: 3 per 1,000 inhabitants


Prayers of Intercession


Response: God, help us to love our neighbor.

For all those who are sick and especially those without proper medical care, we pray….

For all those in need of education, especially children without proper schooling, we pray….

For all those without employment and a living wage, we pray….

For all those without decent housing, we pray….

For all those who are in jail or prison, we pray….

For all those who are immigrants to our nation, we pray….

For all those who are refugees from their homeland and from war and violence, we pray….




Jesus Christ,

who reached across the ethnic boundaries between Samaritan, Roman and Jew,

who offered fresh sight to the blind and freedom to captives,

help us to break down the barriers in our community,

enable us to see the reality of racism and bigotry,

and free us to challenge and uproot it from ourselves our society and our world.



A prayer service centered on immigration issues can be found at the web site of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas at: