Who am ‘I’? I am a cradle Catholic whose idea of faith life is simply to fulfil my obligation to attend Sunday mass. I was fed with a lot of Catholic teachings through catechism classes and from the pulpit. As I entered adulthood, I focused on career and I prioritized ‘self’. I searched for happiness in the many things the world has on offer and was distracted by the neon lights of the entertainment world. I was young and full of vitality, do I have a need for God? I was labelled a “Sunday Catholic”. I had become lukewarm in faith.
Responsibilities at work grew, work-life became more demanding and it sapped away at my vitality. I entered into relationships and endured pain when they broke. I had a few health issues that signaled that I was no longer young. Family demands became financial demands. People around me were just like me; I only cared for myself. That happiness I was searching for became more elusive. Meanwhile I still attended Sunday masses but the preaching became increasingly irrelevant. Something seems to be missing in life. I grew disillusioned. I became disconnected from God.
And so it is ‘I’ who lies half-dead at the side of the road. Challenges, failures, broken relationships, illness and stress had combined to beat me up. I am stripped of my hope for a happy life. I search for meaning of all these. I looked at my life and wonder where God is. Maybe he has forgotten me but anyway I am too unworthy now. I feel guilty for leaving him in my younger days. I am confused. I am not at peace. I am lost. I am too weak in my faith to make a comeback on my own. I need help.
Who are ‘You’? You are a stranger to me but unlike the many other people in my life, you stopped for me. You are interested in my life. You patiently listened and seem to understand. This compassionate action was like a bandage to my wounds. But I remained low on hope, my unworthiness and guilt continue to block out any thoughts of God.
You seem to know what is missing in my life and persisted to be with me even though I was too disillusioned. You put me on your mount; you were willing to go the extra mile just for me. Each of your action surprised me; for who am I to you?
You brought me to a safe place where I could recuperate; into a community where I met more people just like you. It is through you and your community that I first experience being loved unconditionally; it is through your doing that my faith flickered back to life. It is through this real, personal experience of faith that I re-encountered God. You are a good neighbour to me.
Who are ‘we’? We are travelers just like all the characters in the parable. We are all journeying towards eternal life regardless of whether we believe in God or not. Along our path in life we meet many others and today we are told that it is in each other and through one another that we will find the right path to eternal life. There is no other path and to stay on it, we are called “to go and do the same” to one another.
We know many people in life; each carefully placed by God on our path. We are opportunities for one another to see and experience God in action; to know and feel that He is real; not someone I have to reach up to the heavens or cross the seas for. He is in our hearts and manifested in the “good neighbour” we are urged to become.
Faith is ultimately an experience; a journey from head to heart. Without making them come alive in deeds and examples, all we learn through catechism is dead. ‘We’ are the “Good Samaritan”. If we are not then one day we will find ourselves wounded by the roadside.
(15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Deuteronomy 30:10-14, Ps 69, Colossians 1:15-20, Luke 10:25-37)