God Has Raised us Up in Christ
Today’s Gospel is the very familiar Parable of the Good Samaritan. One way of interpreting it is to see it as Our Lord’s answer to what mercy and compassion should look like. The priest and the Levite walk by the man who had been left for dead by robbers. But then the Samaritan took care of the man, nursed him back to health and paid all his bills too. Our Lord tells us this is the model for us to imitate when He says, “Go and do the same yourself.”
But there is another way of seeing this parable. It is an allegory for what Our Lord has done for us. When we fell upon robbers and were left spiritually dead through sin, God has raised us up by the sacrifice of His beloved Son, Our Lord JESUS Christ on the Cross. He paid the debt of our sins by pouring out His Blood on Calvary. It is from Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection that the Sacraments receive their power. No human power can do what God has done for us through the regenerative waters of Baptism. We were dead, but now we are alive.
One of the main differences between Catholics and Protestants is that they believe once they have accepted JESUS as their personal Lord and Saviour they are saved. But as Catholics, while we know that Baptism washes us clean from sin, both Original and personal, we also realise that we can sin again. We are free to reject God’s grace, and we do that every time we sin and disobey His commandments. Baptism is not a guarantee of salvation, but just the first step towards it. We choose God, but we have to go on choosing God. So we are in the process of being saved. Thank God for the Sacrament of Confession! In it, Christ restores us to spiritual health. Our souls defiled by sin are made beautiful again.
Pope Francis a few years ago spoke of the Church as being a field hospital. In war, a field hospital is set up, where soldiers can be brought in when they are wounded. The Church exists to heal our wounds, the wounds of sin. The Confessional, in a sense, is more important than any doctor’s surgery. A doctor can treat our physical ills, but only through the ministry of the priest, can our sins be healed. It is right that we take care of our physical bodies and not neglect our health, but our spiritual health is even more important because our souls are immortal, and the condition of our soul at death determines how we spend eternity. That field hospital is the Sacrament of Confession. Don’t neglect your spiritual health.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC