Engaging Faith | Wed, Jul 3, 2013
July 9: Start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
July 14: Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, first Native American to be canonized and patron saint of ecology and the environment
July 18: Birthday of Nelson Mandela and Nelson Mandela International Day http://www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay/
“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?'”
- Rev. 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.”
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration:
A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice
“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.”
- Pope John Paul II, January 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.”
- Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 53
“… the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be …”
- Pope Francis, June 15. 2013
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.
Deuteronomy 30:14 reminds us, “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.
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?”
For a modern version of the Good Samaritan story, go to
Actions - Links
The annual “Trafficking in Persons Report” was released in June. You can read it at http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm
The U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill on June 27, but the legislation faces a tough fight in the House of Representatives. The Catholic Church has been addressing this issue for a long time. Justice for Immigrants is the USCCB’s effort to educate and advocate for policy changes regarding immigration. Go to http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/ to learn more and to voice your support online.
Ask President Obama to negotiate for nuclear weapons abolition. Go to
Take action against extreme poverty at ONE.org. http://www.one.org/us/energy-poverty/
“More than 16 million children in the United States – 22 percent of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45 percent of children live in low-income families.”
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….
For all those caught up in war and fighting, we pray….
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:
The following is from http://praying.kansasbob.com/2012/03/samaritan-prayer.html\
So today I ask you to join with me in asking the Lord for:
• a heart that will cry for those wounded on the side of the road
• hands that are willing to lift such a one and bandage their hurts
• feet that will carry such a one to a warm and safe place and
• resources to provide for the desolate and hurting in our midst.
This we ask Lord in the name of your son Jesus.
Image: Photo by Micaela Young, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Sister of Mercy tends a wounded soldier in a tent hospital. Reputedly commissioned by Abraham Lincoln, this painting depicts a scene in Vicksburg, Miss., where the Mercy community had been planted by the Pittsburgh sisters. The painting -- whether it is the original or a copy is unknown -- is in the lobby of the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy convent in Oakland.
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