There is a common desire among human beings—of whatever race—to belong. We want to belong to a family. We want to belong to a church. We want to belong to a company. And, indeed, very sorry is the life of a person who does not belong to anybody or to any group.
In our longing and desire to belong, we also tend to follow the examples of the people who belong with us to a certain group. We look around us and when we spot those wearing the same uniform or speaking the same language, or having the same color of skin as ours, we move towards them and follow their examples.
But in the Gospel today, Jesus shows us another principle. He says, “Look outside, and you will discover that there are even better examples outside your small communities.” Outside the Catholic Church, there are many examples; outside the Philippines, there are many things that we can imitate. The example Jesus gives is the Samaritan.
In the Gospel of Luke, the Roman centurion is an outsider; but he teaches us faith. In the same Gospel, Zacchaeus, the tax collector, is also an outsider; but Zacchaeus teaches us conversion. And Luke offers us the good Samaritan, a foreigner. A Samaritan is somebody who lives outside, and yet this outsider teaches the lesson of neighborliness, of charity. And today we are shown the Samaritan leper, who teaches us gratitude.
It is not wrong to belong. It is not wrong to build communities. It is not wrong to form groups. But let us remember to look outside. There you are bound to discover better things, more inspiring examples. Outside our little groups, by looking outside, we are bound to discover that in the kingdom of God, there should be no outsiders. All of us are insiders. All of us belong to God. Let us beg the Lord for a true spirit of openness, so that when the outsiders teach us good examples, we may open our hearts to their message.
Lk 17: 11-19
Looking For Jesus