Gospel Thoughts for 11 July 2010

July 11, 2010 at 11:12 Leave a comment

Today’s Gospel Story (Luke 10:25-37) is the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a well known and popular Parable. It seems to offer nice thoughts, and then is relegated to the back of our mind where it remains harmless. Actually there is nothing nice about it at all. It is a very practical lesson on how Jesus lived and how he wants his followers to live. Among other things it is a call for all who would follow Jesus to be involved in practical everyday loving their neighbor. While the Parable makes strong suggestions as to who our neighbor is, this is a discovery each of us has to make for ourselves time after time after time. As we soon learn, there is nothing nice about it.
The Parable suggests that we have to be open to the Spirit leading us, open to grace in everything. We cannot pretend we have all the answers. In the Story the scholar had the right answers to Jesus’ questions, but Jesus had to lead him to understand those answers in the practical setting of everyday life. So it is with us. We are constantly confronted with the unexpected – bumping into people as we walk along, coming upon different circumstances as we drive, chance encounters of any kind. As we begin to open ourselves to grace these all take on a newer and richer meaning, if we let them and are open to possibility.
Then we have to look at our basic focus in life. If we are centered on our own comfort and security, this will be the filter we use to evaluate what we come upon. This does not mean we are bad, but that we just don’t know who we truly are. If our focus is on being open to grace, this is the filter we use. It does not mean that we are good, but that we are aware of being on a journey and are willing to go where it takes us.
The Parables are for each of us to listen to and pray with, and let them touch our life. They are not for us to use to judge others, or have expectations of how others are to live. Each of the Parables is an invitation and opportunity to enter into a dialogue with Jesus, not telling him what we want to hear or expecting to hear what we have always heard before, but being open and willing to listen. Right now we need everyone who is in our life, and they need us. This is not a conclusion we can arrive at by ourselves just by thinking. It is something that we learn in prayer. We do not necessarily learn just why a person is in our life, but we come to accept that they are, and this acceptance opens us to a new depth and richness – if we let it.
Nowhere does Jesus offer us comfort or security. He invites us to trust in him, and to be willing to let him lead us always beyond our comfort and security. The emphasis is on our willingness to be led farther than we really want to go. What this means is something each of us has to discover for ourselves as we come to know grace is real.
Jesus offers us fulfillment and joy not on our own terms, which are pretty restrictive, but on his terms which are truly liberating. Learning to trust him is not easy and does not lead to an easy life. It does lead to a joy-filled life, and a life that is not dull by any means.


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