Pupils and staff from St Mary's attended the annual schools' Good Samaritan Mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Tuesday 25th April. The Mass, attended by schools from across our Archdiocese, takes place soon after Easter each year, with each school presented with a special candle lit from the Cathedral's Paschal Candle. St Mary's students read the first reading and lead the responsorial psalm during the Mass.
The story the Good Samaritan is one of the parables of Jesus. He tells it in response to a question from a lawyer, who asks him ‘who is my neighbour?’ The story concerns a traveller on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, who is attacked, robbed and left half-dead by the roadside. Two other travellers, one a priest and the other a Temple musician (Levite), both come across the injured man but decide to pass by on the other side. Finally, it is an outsider - a man from Samaria, which was a country that the Jews despised - who decides to stop and show compassion towards the man, who had been attacked. He takes him to a safe place and provides for his recovery. The lawyer and Jesus' listeners must have been very shocked by this story, which showed that this outsider better understood and fulfilled God's command to love than those who were meant to be God's chosen people.
The key issues to be addressed in this parable are:
- the challenge to help and care for those who are different from ourselves
- the challenge to face up to and look beyond our prejudices
- the challenge to reach out and welcome the stranger and outsider
- the challenge to treat all people with fairness and compassion
- the challenge to 'love our neighbour as ourselves'
- the challenge to treat others with respect, tolerance and justice.