The Sunday liturgical readings speak of the interiority of God’s law that has been placed in our hearts; the law of love. To love God with all one’s heart and all one’s strength and to love others as oneself is the very heart of the law. This is also the recipe for unity and stability within the family, within the local community, and certainly within the Church.
God has been always so good to me so that I have less of a problem to love Him than to love my neighbors. The lawyer in the Gospel asked, “Who, then, is my neighbor?” To this question Jesus did not give a straightforward reply. He first narrated the story of a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan, and how they treated a victim of the robbers. Then, Jesus posed the question, “which of these three was a neighbor to the victim?” That lawyer answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Like this Good Samaritan we Christians are asked to be neighbors to those who are in need and to treat them with mercy. In the bosom of the Church there are sinners. In most cases we Christians experience the reality of sinfulness. As sinners we need to have the courage to say, “I am sorry for I have sinned, so I need forgiveness and healing, which help me also to forgive.” Modern societies have sharpened the tools of the law and people may be led to the belief that wrongdoings can be solved simply by lawsuits or the passage of certain Bills.
Today Jesus asks his followers to go beyond the book of the law and to try to see things from the perspective of mercy, especially during this Great Jubilee Year of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis. Indeed, in the story of Jesus, the priest and the Levite bypassed the man suffering by the side of the road, perhaps for the sake of observing the book of the law, and forgot to be neighbors to someone in need. This reminds Church communities, especially their leaders, of the constant need to purify their hearts and minds.
I was happy that last Saturday evening two of my fellow priests, Fr. Jeff and Fr. Lito, at the beginning of their ministry, wanted to give witness to the people by making their profession of faith and oath of fidelity, so as to serve with faith according to the Love and the Will of God.
As we enter the month of July, the Archdiocese will embark on canonical visitations of all of the parishes and visitations of the two Major Seminaries on the island. This is a way not only of assessing their activities but also a way for their spiritual purification, so that the parishes might better serve the People of God and the seminaries improve in their formation of good pastors.
As we move forward towards building greater unity and stability in the Archdiocese of Agaña, let us pray and work together in the grace of God for healing and solidarity as the Catholic Community on Guam.
+ Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB
Archdiocese of Agana