By Sr. Siobhan O’Keefe SHJM Ireland 20.09.2023
Editor’s Note: Sr. Siobhan is a frequent visitor to our Motherhouse in Ireland to visit her aunt, Sr. Nuala Horgan. She has her own website with reflections at https://www.sistersiobhan.org
As I reflect on the Gospel today, the story of the Good Samaritan, two true memories come to mind which reveal to me how social, economic, political and spiritual factors impact on our lives.
A few short years ago, when I was thirty and living in Dublin, I was the proud owner of a moped. This provided me with transport to work at St. Vincent’s Hospital. A cheap tank of petrol lasted forever. On a glorious August Bank Holiday Monday, I set off for work. Shortly afterward the heavens opened, and a deluge of rain fell on bone dry tarmac, a treacherous combination. As I entered a major roundabout, the bike skidded, and I was thrown off. Lying prostrate on the ground, unable to move, a car approached. Two doctors got out, examined me, and concerned that I may have broken my right leg, called an ambulance. It was embarrassing to arrive in A+E in my workplace and to have to relay what happened. However, I was treated with utmost courtesy and care. Fortunately, no major injury had occurred, and I was discharged later that day. Extensive rainbow bruising left me barely able to walk for several days, however, aware that had been saved from serious injury, I was grateful to be alive.
Many years later, I arrived at the scene of an accident in London. A young non-national Pizza Delivery Man had been knocked off his L plate motorbike. He spoke no English and was clearly distressed. I attempted to comfort him as I awaited the ambulance which arrived very quickly. When the paramedics assessed him and recommended hospital admission, he was determined not to go, rose and stumbled away. I suspected that he may have been an undocumented worker and was afraid of either losing his job or being extradited. My heart ached for this good man as he suffered physically, psychologically, and socially.
Each year we celebrate Seafaring Sunday in July; we are aware that as we sail the seas of life, we meet many who are bruised and broken by its choppy waters. Some suffer great physical pain, others a dark cloud of sadness, grief of loss rob life of joy. Economic hardship and political turmoil ravage world peace. Onto these waters, Jesus our Saviour pours His oil of anointing and the wine of hope on the wounds of the world. He asks that we place our hands into his crucified and glorified hands so that fortified by his grace, we are more able to reach out a hand of friendship to all who suffer. God is glorified in the upbuilding of his kingdom on earth.