The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah son of Amittai:
‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and inform them that their wickedness has become known to me.’ Jonah decided to run away from the Lord, and to go to Tarshish. He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish; he paid his fare and went aboard, to go with them to Tarshish, to get away from the Lord. But the Lord unleashed a violent wind on the sea, and there was such a great storm at sea that the ship threatened to break up. The sailors took fright, and each of them called on his own god, and to lighten the ship they threw the cargo overboard. Jonah, however, had gone below and lain down in the hold and fallen fast asleep. The boatswain came upon him and said, ‘What do you mean by sleeping? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps he will spare us a thought, and not leave us to die.’ Then they said to each other, ‘Come on, let us draw lots to find out who is responsible for bringing this evil on us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell to Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Tell us, what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country? What is your nationality?’ He replied, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.’ The sailors were seized with terror at this and said, ‘What have you done?’ They knew that he was trying to escape from the Lord, because he had told them so. They then said, ‘What are we to do with you, to make the sea grow calm for us?’ For the sea was growing rougher and rougher. He replied, ‘Take me and throw me into the sea, and then it will grow calm for you. For I can see it is my fault this violent storm has happened to you.’ The sailors rowed hard in an effort to reach the shore, but in vain, since the sea grew still rougher for them. They then called on the Lord and said, ‘O the Lord, do not let us perish for taking this man’s life; do not hold us guilty of innocent blood; for you, the Lord, have acted as you have thought right.’ And taking hold of Jonah they threw him into the sea; and the sea grew calm again. At this the men were seized with dread of the Lord; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
The Lord had arranged that a great fish should be there to swallow Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. The Lord spoke to the fish, which then vomited Jonah on to the shore.
There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’
But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’
Who is my neighbour?
She has an aged mother to take care, a maid who gets on her nerve and her brother who does not bother taking care of their mother. The anxieties coupled with the inability of letting go of the past, at times she takes out on the people around her. The script that she carries with her daily is filled with negativity, anger and worry. She is none other than my mother.
Who is my neighbour? In this case she is my mother. At times I stay out to avoid communicating with her. Being a positive person, mum’s negativity gets to me at times. I adopt the flight method – trying to disassociate with the situations at home. Recently, I make the effort to spend more time with her, taking her out for meals and being present for her as she talks about the issues she faces. I have also been praying for her, asking the Lord how to communicate with her and for his graces on her. My mother has my interests at heart, yet at times the communications can be quite harsh and insensitive. Maybe it’s a state to test my love and patience for my mum.
In the Gospel of today, the wounded man was lying unconscious on the road. The Levite and the priest saw him on the road and both passed him by. It was the Samaritan, moved by compassion, went up and bandaged his wounds, carried him to the inn and looked after him. He even gave the innkeeper money and offered to pay for extra expenses to ensure the Samaritan is in good hands. If you were in the situation, how would you react?
Perhaps compassion and non-judgment would be an easier conclusion at which to arrive if we could remember that every person in our experience is serving as a perfect mirror that reflects back to us some aspect of our own character we may not choose to or can’t see in ourselves. Many people avoid compassion, not because they are callous, but because of their own fear of the pain they see in others — it reminds them of their own vulnerability. Let us look at the people around us, who is my neighbour? How are we treating them?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Patricia Ang)
Prayer: Lord fill us with love, compassion and forgiveness. Let us extend our hands to reach out and make a difference to the people that we meet.
Thanksgiving: Lord we give you thanks for all the blessings you have given us in our lives. Continue to guide and protect us.
Tue, 04 Oct – Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 10:38-42; Memorial for St Francis of Assisi
Wed, 05 Oct – Jonah 4:1-11 Luke 11:1-4
Thu, 06 Oct – Malachi 3:13-20; Luke 11:5-13; Memorial for St Bruno, Priest
Fri, 07 Oct – Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14; Luke 1:26-38; Memorial for Our Lady of the Rosary
Sat, 08 Oct – Joel 4:12-21; Luke 11:27-28
Sun, 09 Oct – Isaiah 35:6-10; Philippians 4:12-14.19-20; Matthew 22:1-14; Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time