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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

The Good Samaritan

First of all, I would like to thank you for your warm heartfelt welcome last Sunday. It was really an adventure due to health issues but I was able to greet and introduce myself in most of the masses. This week I have an appointment with my doctor hoping that everything will come well. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous to make some mistakes in some of the masses like the 50th anniversary wedding that I had on Saturday in which I forgot to renew their vows!! I suddenly stopped the mass to do the renewal. Of course I had to blame it on the Tylenol I was taking.

The Good Samaritan, after Delacroix — Van Gogh, 1890

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Anyway, let us have a short reflection of this Sunday’s gospel taken from Luke. Let us use our imagination. Imagine you are driving home, you are on the freeway, it is late at night and suddenly you got a flat tire. You are scared of going out. You take courage; go out start raising your hand as sign of help. Oh, you see Fr. Walter coming, he will help you, but wait he pretends not to see you. Then you see Fr. Abel approaching you say to yourself “My new pastor he would stop” but Fr. Abel is busy praying his Rosary and ignores you. Finally a stranger offers his help to fix the tire for you and offers his number just case you may need it. “Oh, thank you so much sir. You must be a Christian.” “Actually” he says, “I am a Jehovah’s witness”. Ouch! Who was really acting like a “true” Christian not the priests but the Jehovah’s Witness. Go and do the same!

Miss Collins, the dean of students at Olympic High School, was past the point of scolding Matt, though she liked him very much. “Four detentions in two weeks are too many.” Still Matt wouldn’t tell. It was only after Miss Collins went on a morning neighborhood patrol that she found out the real reason for Matt’s tardiness. Thump, thump, thump, came the wheelchair down the stairs. It was Matt, steadying Shawnetta as he helped lower her down the stairs and then push her to the corner bus stop. “She’s a girl in my parish youth group,” Matt explained to Miss Collins. There are many ways to describe Matt’s actions—a random act of kindness, making a difference one person at a time. Jesus would understand. When the lawyer correctly identified the good Samaritan as the one who had treated the injured man with compassion, Jesus said simply, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Readings for the Week

Monday: Is 1:10-17; Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23; Mt 10:34 — 11:1
Tuesday: Is 7:1-9; Ps 48:2-8; Mt 11:20-24
Wednesday: Is 10:5-7, 13b-16; Ps 94:5-10, 14-15; Mt 11:25-27
Thursday: Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19; Ps 102:13-14ab, 15-21; Mt 11:28-30
Friday: Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Is 38:10-12abcd, 16; Mt 12:1-8
Saturday: Mi 2:1-5; Ps 10:1-4, 7-8, 14; Mt 12:14-21
Sunday: Gen 18:1-10a; Ps 15:2-5; Col 1:24-28; Lk 10:38-42

Pope Francis at Jubilee Audience: Mercy Without works is Dead

“Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience.” The Holy Father reflected during his address on works of mercy, drawing inspiration from the reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25:31. “In fact, it is good never to forget that mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life. It is one thing to speak of mercy and another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of Saint James the Apostle, (cf. 2:14-17), we can say: mercy without works is dead in itself. It is in fact thus!”

What renders mercy alive, he explained, is its constant dynamism in going to meet the needs and necessities of others. “Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to resolve,” he said.


The Pope lamented that so often, so many are unaware of the suffering and needs of others, or remains completely indifferent. “Sometimes we pass before dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us; everything continues as if there were nothing, in an indifference that in the end renders us hypocrites and, without realizing it, it results in a form of spiritual lethargy, which renders our mind insensitive and our life sterile.”

Roll Up Your Sleeves

“One who has experienced the Father’s mercy in his own life cannot remain insensitive in face of the needs of brothers,” Francis said, noting Jesus’ teachings do not allow for escapes, but call for helping those who hunger and thirst, the naked, the stranger, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt25:35-36), “They oblige one to rollup one’s sleeves to alleviate suffering,” Francis said “Because of the changes of our globalized world, some material and spiritual poverties have multiplied,” he continued, “hence let us make room for the imagination of charity to identify new operative ways. Thus the way of mercy will become ever more concrete. Requested of us, therefore, is to remain vigilant as watchmen, so that it will not happen that, in face of the poverties produced by the culture of wellbeing, the eyes of Christians are weakened and become incapable of looking at the essential.”

Treasures of Our Tradition

The first “presbyters” were advisers to the bishops rather than what we would call “priests,” yet by the year 1000 our present-day understanding of the ordained priesthood is clearly in place. The Germanic influence was strong in those days, reflected in a series of questions posed to the candidate about his intentions.

The priest’s role in the celebration of Mass had by then come to the fore, as the ritual notes that Mass vestments must be worn, the hands of the priest must be anointed with chrism, and a chalice with wine and water and a paten with a host must be given. Up to then, the ordination rite had stressed the presbyter as a collaborator with the bishop and a member of the order of presbyters. Then, in a not-so-subtle shift, the presbyter came to be seen as a “priest” designated to celebrate the Mass and, as the prayer suggests, to touch the chalice. By these days, remember, the cup had long vanished from Communion for the laity. A thousand years ago, today’s patterns were already in place. The priest no longer saw himself as a member of a council of elders, a presbytery, and in some dioceses he had little influence over the bishop. Instead, he was either a pastor, with relationship to the Eucharistic community in the parish, or he was a priest monk, offering Mass for the salvation of the departed or the intentions of the living.