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Knowing God, knowing you PDF Print E-mail

14 July 2013: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture is an ancient path to knowledge of God. First, reading scripture helps to inspire us. Secondly, scripture tells us about the history of God’s relationship with humanity and therefore, it tells us something about God. Third, it tells of the ways that people throughout the history from the Old Testament to the New Testament related to God.

In the scripture, you see God relating to you, to humanity and to individuals. In all these ways, scripture helps you to know God better.

"Knowing God is more important than knowing about God" Karl Rahner

For us Christians, knowing God also means knowing a person. One reason that God became human was to show us more clearly what God was like. Jesus literally embodied God and so anything you can say about Jesus, you can say about God.

There is another way of looking at that through the eyes of the parable, a story of everyday life that opens up your mind to new ways of thinking about God.

The parable of the Good Samaritan which forms the Gospel for today is one of those parts of the New Testament. If it were lacking, Christianity would be something else. Jesus tells the crowd that one should treat one's neighbour as oneself. But when the lawyer questions Jesus "And who is my neighbour?" Jesus offers not a precise definition, but instead spins out the story of the Good Samaritan.

Centuries of familiarity with the phrase "Good Samaritan" have dulled us to the oxymoron involved in Jesus’ time of putting those two words "Good" and "Samaritan" together. For Jews of Jesus’ time, Samaritans were not 'Good' but 'Bad'. When the story tells how the Samaritan was moved to compassion, administers more first aid but helps further, even paying for long term care out of his pocket, it shatters long time prejudice and stereotyping, and comes 'over the top' goodness and humanity. The hearers of the story are forced to put together unthinkable ideas "Good Samaritan" together like what it would mean to us to say "Good Terrorist, Good People Smuggler, Good Drug Dealer" and so on.

This vision lies at the heart of the idea of "Neighbour" that Jesus is trying to transform. What does it really mean to be the neighbour? Before any action, it has to do with the attitude and with visions and I see another person. Do I see primarily an ethnic, cultural, social or occupational tag? Or do I go through all these surface things, see first and foremost, with compassion, a fellow human being who needs to be carried on the Gospel Road?

 

Why bother praying?

Friday 09 August 2013, 7:30pm

The Ignatius Centre (behind St Ignatius' Church)

You, your family and friends are all invited to attend the Melbourne launch of Fr Richard Leonard SJ’s new book Why Bother Praying?.

The book is less about how to pray, but more about why we pray and what it does for us, for God and for the world.

Further details of this and other upcoming events on our calendar.