Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday's Homily: "Bringing Some Heaven To Earth"

Luke 10:25-37 The Parable of the Good Shepherd


The goal of the parable in today's Gospel is not about “getting you into heaven”. It's not a parable about salvation. This parable is more about bringing some heaven to earth.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is 18 miles, and winds through the mountains. This made it easy for bandits and thievesto camp out and take advantage of travellers.

Jesus is painting a picture that everyone hearing the story would understand and relate to. It was a dangerous journey. And it would not surprise anyone listening that a man was mugged in this story.

Both a priest and a Levite saw the wounded man and ignored him. These men knew the Law and didn't feel like they needed to help.

Taken on face value - this parable preaches itself. The answer to “Who was this man's neighbor?” is obvious.

I think the key to understanding this parable is not in the story itself. Nor the response of the lawyer. I think the key to understanding the Parable of the Good Shepherd is what Jesus says in the last line - “Go and do likewise.” That's where that bringing some heaven to earth thing comes in.

Jesus’ message was “love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s not the knowledge of what we should be doing for others that's important. It’s our actions that count.

But why is it important that Christians show such love. compassion, concern, and even mercy for others. It’s more than just making the world a better place to be in.

When. we act in such a way, we are actually showing a glimpse of the love of God to others. We are representing a part of what God IS. Simply put, we are bringing some heaven to earth...

There once was a boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip, so he brought out his suitcase, packed a box of twinkies, and a six-pack of root beer, and started his journey.

All around him, he looked for God – in the eyes of every one he passed. Three blocks into his journey, he spied an old woman sitting on a park bench staring at the pigeons who gathered there. He was ready to stop and ponder his search for God.
So he sat on the park bench next to the woman.

He opened his suitcase, ready for a root beer, when he noticed that the woman looked hungry.So he pulled out a Twinkie and offered it to her.She reached out her hand and gratefully accepted the Twinkie, and she smiled at him.

He thought “What a beautiful smile she has” and the boy was delighted. The two sat all afternoon eating and smiling, yet not saying a word.

Soon, it started to get dark, and the boy started getting tired. So, he got up to leave. After a few steps, He turned back around, walked over to the woman and gave her a big hug.

She responded with the biggest smile ever. When he got home, his mother noticed his beaming smile as he entered the kitchen.

“What did you do today that made you so happy?” she asked. “I had lunch with God,” he replied, and immediately added: “You know what, she had the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, when the woman had returned to her home, her son immediately was drawn to her glowing face. She was truly radiant with joy!

Her son asked her, “What did you do today that made you so happy? She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.”

But before her son could respond, She added: “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Go and do likewise!

Bring some heaven to earth!

You might be surprised who you find along the way!

Deacon Gerry Mattingly

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