Mass with Christ Child Society of Fort Wayne
Monday of 27th week
We just heard the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, one that we have heard many times. It gets to the very heart of our Christian faith and the mission of the Christ Child Society. I’d like to begin by looking at this parable a little differently, the way many Fathers of the Church interpreted the parable, an allegorical interpretation that identifies the Good Samaritan as Jesus Himself. It is good to think about it this way, to think about Jesus as the Samaritan and ourselves, humanity, as the man beaten and half-dead lying on the side of the road. This is how the Fathers interpreted the parable. We are all wounded in our nature, born without supernatural grace. We are in need of redemption. Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, comes into human history to bring redemptive healing to an alienated, battered, and wounded humanity. God has made Himself our neighbor who doesn’t walk by the side of the road and pass us by. He comes to us and pours oil and wine into our wounds. He heals us through the sacraments. He brings us to the inn, the Church, in which He arranges our care and pays a deposit for the cost of that care.
My sisters and brothers, the Good Samaritan, Jesus, has redeemed us with His blood. He heals our wounds. He loves us with an infinite love. His mercy knows no bounds. Healed by the love and mercy of Jesus, we are now given a mission to bring that love and mercy to others. That’s the Christian life. That’s the mission of Christ Child. The Lord calls us to be good Samaritans, to imitate his attitude and actions, to bring His healing and redeeming love to others, to pour oil and wine into the wounds of people who are hurting, to bring people to the inn, which is the Church, to be tended and cared for. Pope Francis has used that beautiful image of the Church as a field hospital. It’s good to think of the Church in this way. It can’t be a cold institution. In his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis spoke of the Church as a family fire, where people gather and experience the light and warmth of God’s love. That’s what we are to be. That’s the Gospel. We are to live the parable of the Good Samaritan.
I am very grateful for the Christ Child Society, for your loving mission here in Fort Wayne. You have a special mission directed to children who are in need. You work to provide for their physical needs, but not only that. What is even more important is your love and compassion. Notice in the parable that the Samaritan was “moved with compassion” at the sight of the beaten man on the road. A better translation that captures the original vitality of the Hebrew words would be: “his heart was wrenched open.” His soul was touched by the suffering of his neighbor. And then he became a true neighbor, his heart shaken and moved by the need, by the misery, of his neighbor. When you see and encounter the needs of the beautiful children you help, I imagine that you are also struck in your heart, especially when you see the poverty and maybe the hurt of children. This is mercy. This is compassion. You don’t just hand them a coat or the mother a layette. You see this neighbor with the eyes and the heart of Jesus.
After Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to the scholar of the law, He asked him who was the neighbor to the victim of the robbers. The scribe answered: “the one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him: “Go and do likewise.” He says the same to us: “Go and do likewise.” That’s our mission. May the Holy Spirit help you and guide you in living the holy mission of the society named after the Child God sent to redeem us with His love, His divine Son!