Rev. Fr. Jun Sescon, our chaplain; brother priests concelebrating in this Mass; Mr. Teddy Keng, founder of Landmark; those who are joining us through the online live streaming of this Mass; my dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
We are grateful to the Lord for gathering us this afternoon to celebrate this Eucharist on the occasion of the fiesta of our chapel and to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother of Hope. I take this opportunity to greet each of you a happy and blessed fiesta! Maligayang kapistahan sa inyong lahat!
In our Gospel this Sunday, we heard the famous and yet profound parable of Jesus about the Good Samaritan. Jesus narrates this parable to answer the question of the scholar of the law, “who is my neighbor?” Sino ba ang aking kapwa? And by telling the story, Jesus’ implicit answer to the question is, “that man who fell victim to robbers; that man who was severely beaten; that man who was helpless and was almost dead; that man is your neighbor.” For Jesus, therefore, whoever needs help, assistance, compassion, and love is a neighbor.
This is what priest and the Levite failed to see. They probably did not see a neighbor but someone who could cause trouble and disturbance to what they were supposed to do. Hindi naman siguro sa hindi nila gustong tumulong. Pero baka kapag tinulungan nila ang taong ito, madumihan sila at hindi nila magawa ang tungkulin na mag-alay sa templo.
But for the Samaritan, when he saw the man, he saw someone in need of his help and care. He saw a neighbor. Para sa Samaritano, hindi na mahalaga kung sino siya, kung anong lahi siya, kung magkakampi ba sila, o kung maibabalik ba niya ang pabor na ibibigay sa kanya. Hindi na niya inisip kung maabala siya o magagastusan pa. Dahil ang taong ito ay isang kapwa, hindi puwedeng iwasan lang niya. Dahil isang kapwa ang nakita niya, tumulong siya. Nakipag-kapwa tao siya.
My dear friends, in our journey of faith, as we travel the paths of life, there are also many people like that man, wounded, bruised, hurting, and in need of our love and concern. As Christians, let us look at them, not only as a neighbor, but as Jesus. Jesus is that man who fell victim to robbers. Jesus is that man lying along the street. Jesus is that man bruised, wounded, and forsaken. Jesus is that man needing our concern, care, compassion, and charity. Jesus is that man begging for good Samaritans to approach him, mend his wounds, and take all the bother to ensure that all will be well for him. Remember, in another parable of Jesus, he identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the imprisoned, the naked, and the homeless? And Jesus said, “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.”
My dear brothers and sisters, our neighbor is Jesus. And if we see Jesus in our neighbor, would you not care? Will you refuse help? Kung si Hesus yung kapwa na naghihintay ng iyong awa, iiwas ka pa ba? Ipagdadamot mo ba ang iyong oras, pera, panahon, at pagkalinga?
The parable of the Good Samaritan does not only answer the question of the scholar of the law, “who is my neighbor?” After narrating the story, Jesus also poses a question, “Which of these three was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” Sino ang naging kapwa sa taong nabiktima ng mga magnanakaw? By changing the question of the scholar of the law, Jesus is telling him, and all of us, “it no longer matters who your neighbor is. What matters is to be a neighbor.” Tila ipinapaalala ni Hesus na ang tuon ng ating pansin at puso ay hindi lang kung sino ba ang kapwa na dapat tulungan. Resposibilidad natin na makipag-kapwa, na tumugon sa pangangailangan ng ating kapwa.
This parable also tells us that the man who fell victim to robbers symbolizes our fallen and broken humanity. We are that man lying helpless on the road. And Jesus is our Good Samaritan who approaches us, heals our wounds, and saves us. In Jesus, we experience the healing and saving love of God. As St. Paul tells us in our second reading today, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God.” In Jesus, God looks upon us as his neighbor. In Jesus, God has become a neighbor, our Good Samaritan.
My dear friends, this parable is a story of hope because it is a story of Jesus who is our sure and certain hope. Kung makikita natin si Hesus sa bawat isa, ituturing natin ang bawat isa, hindi bilang kalaban o katunggali, kundi bilang kapwa, bilang kapatid, na dapat nating alagaan, kalingain, kaawaan, at mahalin. At kung magiging kapwa tayo katulad ni Hesus, na hindi namimili ng tutulungan, na handang maabala para dumamay sa iba, na hindi iiwas sa responsibilidad sa kapwa, tayo din, katulad ni Hesus, ay magiging mabuting Samaritano sa isa’t isa. In the end, that is what love means. Love is seeing Jesus in others. Love is being Jesus to others. And if this is what love is, then we realize that loving is not at all difficult. In words of our first reading today, “it is something very near to you; it is already in your mouths and in your hearts. You have only to carry it out.” If we have learned to see Jesus in one another and to become Jesus to others, there is hope for humanity. There is hope for the world.
We turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is our Mother of Hope because she is the Mother of Jesus, our hope. As she beholds Jesus, whom she bore in her womb and carried in her arms, may she teach us to see Jesus present in our neighbors, especially those who are weak, abandoned, and neglected in our families and society. May Mary also help us to become Jesus to others, especially in this world that is wounded and hurting and is in dire need of healing, reconciliation, and salvation.
Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, our hope, pray for us. Lead us closer to Jesus. Help us to see Jesus. And help us to be more like Jesus. Amen. (Photo by Maricar Santos/RCAM-AOC)