Jul 14 (Lk 10:25-37)

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century was an American author and poet.

She has written a beautiful poem, which goes thus:

“It isn’t the thing you do;

It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you a bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun.

>> The tender word forgotten, The letter you did not write,

>> The flower you might have sent,  are your haunting ghosts tonight.

>> The stone you might have lifted, Out of a brother’s way,

>> The bit of heartsome counsel, You were harried too much to say.

>> The little acts of kindness, So easily out of mind;

>> Those chances to be helpful, Which everyone may find.

No, it’s not the things you do,

>> It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you the bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun!”

Our daily life gives us ample opportunities to do good…

… and more than equal, are the number of opportunities that are often lost, in doing good.

The Gospel of the Day is a stark reminder for us, to consider our level of love for the Lord…

… especially through the perspective of the many chances we miss in doing good and serving Him!

A scholar of the law went up to Jesus with a motive to test Him. (Lk 10: 25)

Despite being given a clarification by the Lord, the Gospel says, that the scholar of the law went on to ask another question, “to justify himself” (Lk 10: 29).

This attitude to “justify oneself, even without any just cause”…

… is a tendency, whose presence we ought to examine in ourselves

>> And if present, need to root out…

“Justifying oneself, even without any just cause”, could be pointing to the fact…

… that we are too proud to accept the view of the other, even when we know the truth

… that we are unwilling to let go of our ego, with a  fear of being defeated

To this trap of the scholar of the Law, who sought to “justify oneself, even without any just cause”…

… Jesus replied with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

One of the vivid observations that we can have from this parable is the “sin of omission” from the part of the first two possible helpers – the Priest and the Levite.

The man who was attacked, and lay in pain and anguish along the road from “Jerusalem to Jericho”…

… was in need of immediate attention

… was in need of aid and assistance

But the parable says that both – the Priest and Levite – responsible and supposedly God-serving people – refused to extend help.

There could be several reasons proposed as to why they did not stop by, to help the one in need.

Maybe…

… they risked ritual and social impurity  – since they were at the Temple of the Lord and touching the man had a risk of defilement.

… they were short of time – wanting to make sure they would reach in time for their Temple duties

… they were afraid of the robbers – since this 17 mile stretch from Jerusalem to Jericho was robber-infested

… they were indifferent to the cause of the needy – only being concerned with cultic service of the Lord and not translating them into acts of mercy

… they had a past experience of having faced danger – and were unwilling to put themselves into risk once again

… they were unable to set their priorities in order – unable to distinguish and discern that, not just Temple service, but even helping a needy person forms part of a true spirituality

The reasons….

… could be varied

… could be speculated

… could be argued upon

But one thing is certain: They failed to help a person in need…

… and thus had a missed a chances in doing good and serving Him!

>> This “missing the chance in doing good” constitutes the “sin of omission”

Yes, our daily life gives us ample opportunities to do good…

… and more than equal, are the number of opportunities that are often lost, in doing good.

Am in languishing with many “sins of omission”….?

>> Young persons who stray away from the honest and right paths of life – knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or purposely…

… demand our attention to pray for them and to find creative ways of bringing them back to the right path

>> Broken families which face crisis – either due to spousal misunderstandings or children’s worries or financial constraints or any other problems…

… cry out to us, to intervene in their lives by interceding for them and to become channels of peace, reconciliation and harmony.

>> Lethargic Christians and persons with lapsed faith – either due to ignorance or indifference or deception…

… plead to us, to bring their cause before the Throne of God’s Mercy and to be cheerful instruments who “fan their faith into flames”

In all such causes and similar cases, we are challenged to be the “Good Samaritan”…

… being humble enough to get down to our knees

… being daring and courageous to face humiliations in extending help

… being compassionate and caring to do follow-ups on our acts of mercy

It is only thus that we would be marching forward in our goodwill to firmly follow the commandments to inherit eternal life (Lk 10:25):

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind…

… and your neighbour as yourself!” (Lk 10: 27)

May our daily examination of the conscience, always remind us of the fact, that…

“It isn’t the thing you do;

>> It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you a bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun.”

>> And thus spur us, to have compassionate hearts and be a true “Missionary of Mercy”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – ” Beware of unmeaning self-accusations, made out of a mere routine, such as…

… “I have not loved God as much as I ought;

… I have not prayed with as much devotion as I ought;

… I have not loved my neighbour as I ought;

… I have not received the Sacraments with sufficient reverence;” and the like.

>> But examine closely what special reason you have for accusing yourself thus.

For instance, when confessing that you have not loved your neighbour as you ought, it may be that what you mean is, that having seen some one in great want whom you could have succoured, you have failed to do so.

>> Well then, accuse yourself of that special omission: say, ‘Having come across a person in need, I did not help him as I might have done,’…

… either through negligence or hardness, or indifference…

… according as the case may be!”

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