1184 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 585-3300 Fax: (808) 545-5063
Roman Catholics

Roman Catholic Church in the state of hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu

Witness to Jesus

About us

About us

Help me find...

Bishop's Homily for the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus challenges us today to not walk by a suffering sister or brother.

By Bishop Larry Silva
July 10, 2022

[Sacred Hearts Church, Lanai City (Confirmation & First Communion)]

Someone is bullied at school, and we just walk by, mostly so that we do not become bullied ourselves.  We see that a friend is getting mixed up with the wrong crowd and is beginning to experiment with drugs, but we say nothing to the friend, because we do not want to be rejected.  We are aware of an unmarried woman who is very poor or very young and pregnant, and we hope she will not have an abortion, but we do nothing to help her.  We see that someone is terribly depressed because of the loss of a loved one, and we do not reach out to that person because we are just too busy.

You do not have to be traveling between Jerusalem and Jerico to be beaten up by the temptations and misfortunes of life.  There are many people right here among us who are beaten up physically, emotionally, or spiritually – and who are often left for dead.  Jesus, of course, as he did so many years ago, challenges us today not to walk by a suffering sister or brother but to stop and invest ourselves in that person’s recovery.

We can do this in many ways.  At this time, for example, our diocese is working on developing a Catholic Mental Health Ministry.  It has become apparent that there are many mental health issues, including addictions, depression, suicidal or murderous thoughts, bullying, domestic violence, grief, and just feeling overwhelmed by all the demands of life.  We hope people will get the help they need, but often, mental health professionals are either not available or not accessible.  More often, people who are suffering are ashamed to reach out for help.  And so this mental health ministry will train regular parishioners on how to spot signs that people are broken and in need of help, and how to concretely offer help.  (I often ask the question, “How did people deal with mental health issues before Sigmund Freud – before there were psychologists?”  I believe people just listened to and accompanied friends and family members in distress.)  This is one way we hope that we will not just walk by when we see someone beat up and suffering, but will reach out as the Samaritan did.

Our Respect Life Office is also busy training people in a program called “Walking with Moms in Need.”  This came from the Respect Life Office of the U.S. Bishops Conference, even before Roe vs. Wade was overturned.  It helps people reach out to women in crisis pregnancies who might be contemplating abortion and giving them the spiritual, emotional, and physical support they need so that they can feel more comfortable about choosing life for their children.  Like the Samaritan, who invested his time and his money in taking care of a stranger in need, this is one way we can engage with mothers in need so that we do not just walk by them when they are contemplating an abortion.

Our own family members and friends are often suffering in various ways.  We are also called to notice, to stop, and to offer whatever assistance we can so that they can be healed and strengthened in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Sometimes it only takes a listening ear, an open heart, and the investment of time.  Sometimes it may involve a longer process of accompaniment in love.  Sometimes we can connect them with others, as the Samaritan did with the innkeeper who took care of the beaten man, always going back to check to see if there is more we can do.

This parable of the Good Samaritan is much more challenging than we might like it to be, because we are so busy and have so many problems of our own that it is very easy to just walk by on the other side of the road.  Of course, the Good Samaritan is really Jesus himself, and since we are the members of his Body, the Good Samaritan should be us as well.  We may not think we have the time or the resources to do this, but the Holy Spirit, whom these brothers and sisters will receive in a special way today in Confirmation, can accomplish miracles within us.  And the same Holy Spirit changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  So it is Christ Jesus himself who lives within us.  We can then accomplish miracles, not in our own names, but in the name of the Body of the Risen One whose members we become when we accept the great gift of entering into intimate and holy communion with him.