Good Samaritan - the medicine of Love

Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday of Year C

by Fr. Tommy Lane

There are a number of fairytales about people who helped others and who were greatly rewarded as a result. In the story of The Beauty and the Beast a wicked witch curses a handsome prince and changes him into an ugly monster. He remains that way until a beautiful princess comes along, kisses him, and changes him back into a handsome prince. Love rubs off on others and makes them lovely. When we meet people we can affect them for better or worse. How good it would be to have a good effect on others, to be like the princess and make others lovely.

We can imagine the man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who was attacked and left half dead (Luke 10:25-37). He would have lost his confidence in humanity as a result. But the Good Samaritan helped to bring healing not only to his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them, but even more importantly the Good Samaritan poured love on the injured man’s psychological and emotional wound, and that love would be just as important for healing him as the bandages and oil and wine. The people who hurt us, do so because they are wounded and they themselves may not even be aware of their woundedness. The best medicine of all is love. If we don’t love them they will remain wounded and hurt. It is not easy for any Good Samaritan to give the medicine of love but it is the only medicine that heals.

It would be great to look back on your life and say you really helped someone who was down to rise up. Do you ever do anything to heal peoples’ wounds or are you always receiving help from others? It would be great to look back on your life and say you really helped someone who was down to rise up. During those times when it is difficult to heal and love the other wounded person, we can remember that in helping another, Jesus said, we are helping him, “Whatever you do to one of the least of these you do to me.” (Matt 25:40)

Another fairytale about a 'Good Samaritan' being rewarded is about Sir Launfal, a proud young knight, who set out to find the chalice Jesus used during the Last Supper, which is often called the Holy Grail. As he left the city he gave a coin to a leper. He failed to find the Holy Grail and returned, an older man, and after much suffering. The leper was still there begging. The knight had no money but gave him his last crust of bread. They had nothing to drink so the knight took the leper’s bowl and went for water, and gave the bowl of water to the leper. When he did so the leper turned into Christ and the bowl into the Holy Grail.

We want to continue to do our best to help and heal Jesus who is injured and in pain in other people. I conclude with the Beatitudes for Carers (taken from Windows on the Gospel: Stories and Reflections by Flor McCarthy p86).

Blessed are those who care and who are not afraid to show it -
they will let people know they are loved.

Blessed are those who are gentle and patient-
they will help people to grow as the sun helps the buds to open and blossom.

Blessed are those who have the ability to listen –
they will lighten many a burden.

Blessed are those who know how and when to let go –
they will have the joy of seeing people find themselves.

Blessed are those who, when nothing can be done or said, do not walk away, but remain to provide a comforting and supportive presence –
they will help the sufferer to bear the unbearable.

Blessed are those who recognize their own need to receive, and who receive with graciousness –
they will be able to give all the better.

Blessed are those who give without hope of return –
they will give people an experience of God.

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Fifteenth Sunday Year C

Father Damien of Molokai was a Good Samaritan

Related Homilies: Today’s Gospel in the context of Luke

love of neighbor Seeing Jesus in others

If anyone wants to be first he must be servant of all

stories about helping others

stories about seeing God in others