Dear Friends in Christ at Holy Spirit and St. Helen’s,
What if we took a different look at today’s Gospel? It is easy to focus on the Good Samaritan. After all who doesn’t like a character in a story who shows kindness, compassion and goodness? Kudos for the Good Samaritan, but let’s take a brief look at the Scribe who sparks this famous story.
The Scribe is a religious man who knows the Jewish law from beginning to end. He has already answered correctly Jesus’ request to interpret the law to Him but then his character flaw appears. “but because he wished to justify himself…”he presses Jesus to define who his neighbor is.
The Scribe misses the point thinking the question is about him and personal righteousness when the real question is “how is the Kingdom of God reflected in our efforts to restore relationships.” The Kingdom of God is a reminder that we are made in God’s image which is a love relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In God there is no divisions and we are suppose to mirror that reality in our own relationships. Fractions come because of sin. The Kingdom of God is established to break down barriers and to lead us from sin into a love that unites us.
This same story is played out in the history of the Church and especially in our own parishes. Ultimately is God’s desire that we all live in harmony with each other. There should not be any factors that divide us, rather we should at all times strive to build connections and develop relationships. One of the most sinful and hurtful attitudes that developed among Catholic Churches is Parochialism. It is one thing to have a kind of pride in our native parish. There are rich traditions in every parish community. There are even important celebrations such as St. Helen’s 30th Anniversary of the dedication of its current church. These kind of milestones need to be celebrated. However, when we become selfish, or seek only our own parish perspectives, or want to remain separate entities then that stance is counter if not sinful to the reason why Jesus established the Kingdom of God on earth. That was to end all divisions.
You can test this by simply asking yourself, “how do I approach the joint parish bulletin?” Do I just look for my parishes news and events? Do I complain about not finding information on my parish’s page? Do I see the value of our joint bulletin and our joint Webpage?
Currently, the bulletin editors from both parishes are working with Harry Rutherford from Diocesan Publications to improve our bulletin layout. I am excited about the possibilities this new format will offer us. It is a joint effort. It is meant to bring a better product to you, the parishioner. It will feature a clearer format for presenting information to you. It will also begin to break down the barriers of this my parishes page. The focus will be on our common experiences of faith and building a stronger sense of our partnership as sister parishes. In a way it will help answer the proverbial question, “and who is my neighbor?” We have an opportunity to be Good Samaritans to each other. I simply ask that we all have an open mind and heart as we move forward.