Fr. Raymond Gramata, Pastor
October 26, 2014
From your Pastor,
I want to share with you a story from a book that I have been reading: There is an ancient tale of a man who falls into a pit, which has been dug deep enough to keep a man from climbing out of it, along an old Roman road. Many people travel along the road, see the man down in the hole, and do nothing but look. Eventually a monk comes along and stops to pray with the man, for it was noon – time for the Angelus, when everyone stops for thanks and prayers.
“Now will you help me out?” the unfortunate man asks the monk when the prayers are completed. “I don't have the strength,” the monk tells him, and gives the man a blessing and walks on. Next comes along a healer. He sees the man in the hole and pauses long enough to offer some advice as to how the trapped man should care for his wounds. “Can you help me out, now?” the man in the pit asks him. “I’m unable,” he is told, and the healer moves on.
Then an orator and a lawyer come along. Together these two stand beside the hole and condemn whoever dug such a pit, surely the practice of slave traders. After convincing many who walk by that this practice must be punished more severely by the Roman Senate, they move on, leaving the man in the hole. Finally, a friend of the unfortunate man’s comes walking by. The man in the pit is elated until, suddenly, his friend jumps in right next to him. “What are you doing!” the unfortunate man screams, “Didn’t you realize that I was stuck down here?” His friend replies, “Yes, but I wanted to see the pit from your perspective. Now, we’ll figure a way out together.” Do we think this friend foolish or wise? What would we have done?
Each of today’s readings gives us a code of conduct on how we should live with one another and asks the question where we would place ourselves in the story. From Exodus, we learn how to live in community and how to treat one another. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he reminds them of how he acted among them – being a good example. He encourages them to follow his good example. In Matthew’s Gospel we hear again the two greatest commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: “You shall love the neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”