Pastor Column, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: July 14, 2019
Msgr. Joseph Tracy, St. Stanislaus Parish
What does it mean to give of oneself completely, without reservation, without fear, and without a concern for the cost? Should it matter if the person who needs us is unlike us in skin color, religion, or nationality? What does real mercy look like?
Jesus answers these questions beautifully in what may be the greatest stewardship parable of all time, the story of the Good Samaritan. After a Jewish traveler has been attacked, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road, others see him hurt but fail to come to his aid. The cost for them to stop is too great. It is a Samaritan, the person despised most by others in the area, who stops, and gives of his time/ talent/ and treasure to help the poor victim. We will never know where the Samaritan man was going for certain, but he stopped to give his time to the beaten man. Using oil and wine, he bandaged his wounds. Not everyone would have the skill and the knowledge to do as he did. So he gave of his talent. Then he put the man on his own animal and carried him to an inn to rest. Here he shares his treasure with him.
As if all his actions were not enough to demonstrate his compassion and his desire to share, the statement of his willingness to “pay whatever the balance is” elevates this parable to the ultimate example of stewardship. The Samaritan does not care how high the cost. He is willing to give whatever is needed. This, my friends, is master discipleship: to respond to the call of Jesus Christ regardless of the cost. This is true stewardship!