THE GOOD INN-KEEPER

This homily, based on Luke 10:25-37, was delivered at the Montserrat Religious Formation Center in Silang, Cavite during the closing Mass of the Workshop on Ignatian School Leadership.

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We’ve all heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan before, and of course, its message is loud, clear, and–given all that’s going on in our world today–timely: Just like the Good Samaritan, we are each called to help those in great need–even and especially strangers, those of a different race, region, or religion.

I can’t help but think, however, that such occasions do not happen frequently enough. These opportunities to save someone’s life or even help someone in a grave situation come somewhat few and far between. This call to be a neighbor to others–as the Good Samaritan exemplifies–is extended to all of us, but is it possible that more often than not, we are called to be more like that other–less famous–“good neighbor” in the parable? Reading the parable today–for the nth time–my attentions was drawn not so much to the Good Samaritan, but to the Good Innkeeper.

We really rarely get to play lifesaver as the Good Samaritan does (What a relief, if I may say so!). We pray that when such opportunities do arise, we will be able to do the right thing and rise to the challenge. But is it not the case that more frequently we find ourselves with people being handed over to our care? Just as the Good Samaritan delivers the wounded stranger to the inn keeper, the Lord seems constantly to be entrusting people to us–helpless family members, broken-hearted friends, even strangers scarred by a hostile world. Although taking care of these people can take its toll on us, we are nevertheless called upon to do our part.

Those who may be feeling the burden of caring for others must take heart in the words that the Good Samaritan speaks to the inn keeper. It is the same words the Lord speaks to us: “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given to you, I shall repay you on my way back.”

So for those who are feeling burnt out and those who are running empty on their resources, financial and emotional, as a result of caring for others, the Lord gives his word that he will replenish their resources, and–even more importantly–he shall be back. For a follower, this promise of a second visitation from the Lord is precious enough reward.

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20 thoughts on “THE GOOD INN-KEEPER”

  1. The neighbor is staring at me in the face …the bereaved domestic helper, the driver with not enough till the next payday, the parents in fear for their addict son…let me step out boldly, trusting the Lord will never leave me!

  2. I thought you were still sick because your pin of light for yesterday was missing. I prayed real hard and loud so the Lord would hear and heal you. Thanks, Father, for shining your pin of light on the promise of the Good Samaritan to the innkeeper. We all know that spending one’s heart’s resources on caring and being compassionate is not easy. The resources dwindle fast away and regret swells back in. But the promise that God will replenish what He originally invested in us should move us on.

  3. How reassuring to read the words from your last paragraph.
    Those are the same thoughts I’ve carried while taking care of my brother the last few months, and Our Lord has never failed. He is always faithful.

  4. Aside from the fact that the parable never really gave attention to the innkeeper, another reason why I suspect we don’t normally put him on a pedestal like we do the Good Samaritan is because the innkeeper ‘got something’ out of the transaction, whereas the Good Samaritan did not. Thank you for highlighting the idea that our God is not a snobbish God that ‘looks down’ on certain kinds of help and service, the way we sometimes do.

  5. Thank you very much for this, Father. Your homily is very relevant to my life situation, very comforting. Jesus’ words bring hope. Come to think of it, Jesus doesn’t need to pay us back because it is our duty to care for each other. And yet, Jesus, through the Good Samaritan promises, “If you spend more than what I have given to you, I shall repay you on my way back.”

  6. Thank you Fr J for sharing your reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It is good to be reminded that we are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for one another especially those who are burdened in life. We too experience burn-out & tiresome moments and we sometimes receive less consolation than what we expected. Caring for others indeed takes its toll in us. Thank you for reminding us that what we are doing is God’s task. It is His Work and not ours…and that He will replenish our dire and wanting situation…that He will lighten our yokes. Maybe all we need is to entrust to Him our humble intentions and desires to care for people though imperfect and at times searching for rewards. May we draw inspiration from the Good Samaritan who went beyond the call of duty. May we have this genuine desire in all of us. Amen.

  7. I head a feeding program of nearly 350 kids who we feed every school day. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and being in my senior years I get tired. But indeed God replenishes my physical and emotional resources to overflowing and i hang on to his promise of his reward for me all my sponsors.

    Thank you for this new take on an old story.

    1. I’m certain the Lord appreciates every single ounce of energy you pour into this feeding program especially because every ounce counts in one’s senior years. God bless you, all your sponsors, and the children entrusted to your care, Nela!

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