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 Good Samaritan Mass is organised as a joint effort of the Education Commission and the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society to celebrate all the charitable endeavours which occur in Diocesan Secondary Schools, with particular emphasis on fundraising and awareness of the Southwark Crisis Fund. The fund was launched November 2015 by the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society and Archbishop Peter Smith and provides one-off grants to support families living in Southwark where a relatively small amount of funding can make a big difference.
The story the Good Samaritan is one of the parables of Jesus. He tells it in response to a question ‘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. 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. 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.