• Happy Labor Day Weekend! Students return on Monday evening, between 6:30 PM and 7:45 PM.
• Our Moms and Dads Prayer Groups will come together (both at the same time) to pray on Sunday, September 8, at 7:00 PM in the Perpetual Help Classroom. All moms and dads are welcome!
• Individual student photos were taken this past week. Mrs. Aeschliman will be emailing home the photos to parents in the next week or so.
• Mr. Hanson, our College Counselor, will give a presentation on college applications, etc. on Sunday, September 15, at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help classroom. Juniors and seniors and their parents are highly encouraged (but not required) to attend; all others are welcome.
• Looking ahead: Mark your calendars now for Parent-Teacher Conferences on October 6. More information to come as it gets closer.
• Our first cross country meet is: September 6 (Friday) at 3:00 PM, at Mile Square Regional Park [16801 Euclid Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708].
• Congratulations to Fr. Vianney, Mr. Heffernan and our football team on their first victory! Our next football game is Thursday, September 5, at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s.
• Please do not forget to pay your son’s sports fee if he is playing football or cross country.
Our Blessed Lord teaches us in today’s Holy Gospel what is perhaps the most difficult thing for us to do. No, it’s not to give to the poor, or to help the homeless, or to defend the helpless; it’s not even to love your neighbor, simply speaking. The parable of the “Good Samaritan” teaches us far more than that. It brings us face to face with that one thing which we all cannot help but shriek from: to love our enemies.
See, in the parable, Christ purposely uses the figure of a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jews were hardened enemies. The Samaritans broke off from the other Israelites around the year 720 BC, and instituted their own forms of worship, whereby they eventually ended up falling into pagan idolatry. In other words, the Samaritans were heretics and schismatics and even idolaters. And the injured man he met on the roadside was most likely a Jew, since it says that he was coming forth from Jerusalem. We can’t even imagine what kind of effect this parable must have had on those listening to it: A Samaritan loving and having great mercy on a Jew?! Our Lord used this image for a purpose: to teach His listeners and all those who would follow Him thereafter, that in order to be a true follower of Christ you must love God with all your heart and soul, and all men, and even your enemies.
To love your enemies; this is the mark of a true Christian. For, as Our Lord Himself said, “even the pagans love those who are good to them.” And even the Old Covenant given to Moses taught “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”; it was a law based on strict justice: “what you do to me I do to you.” But Christ came to raise up this law to a higher level, perfecting it: When you are stricken, He says, on the right cheek, turn and offer your left…and, love your enemies and pray for your persecutors. This, no doubt, is no easy thing, but all things are possible with God’s help.
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that, to love someone is to will—to want—what is good for them. If you have love for another, you pray and work for that person’s good; their greatest good being, of course, their salvation. And if you really desire what is good for them you don’t injure them with slander and detraction, envy and jealousy, coldness and hatred. St. Thomas goes on to say that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that we love our enemies, at least by including them in a general way in our prayers, and by always being ready to show that love to them individually if the necessity so arises, as it did for the Good Samaritan.
I had the privilege of meeting a few years ago a living saint. His name was Abbot Taiowsky, a Norbertine Abbot in Slovakia. Abbot Taiowky was imprisoned, tortured and brainwashed…twice, once by the Nazis, once by the Communists. When he was finally released, after years of great persecution, the first thing he said was, “I forgive all those who mistreated me; I love them and I pray for them all.” He had to live the rest of his life looking at the ugly marks left by his enemies both on his person and on his monastery. And yet he could still love them; he could still desire and pray for their good. Only a Christian can do that.
Though most of us, perhaps, will never undergo the kind of persecution that that holy abbot underwent, we can still put ourselves in the place of that Samaritan and ask ourselves, “Do we truly love our enemies?” It’s not too difficult to test ourselves. Just imagine driving along the road and seeing, let’s say, that one member of the Church’s hierarchy who has made you suffer so much, whose very name makes your skin crawl. His car is broken down and it’s raining outside. Now ask yourself if you would stop to help him. Ask yourself if you at least pray for him, for his salvation. Can you say that you really love him, not as your enemy and for the evil that he has done, but as a fellow human being and child of God, redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ? How far we all are from the Kingdom of God!
St. Francis de Sales used to say, If you tear out one of my eyes, I shall look at you as my very dear friend with the other. If you want to save your soul, love your enemies. If you want to convert the world, pray for those who persecute you. Our Lord said, By this they shall know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.
Pray at this Holy Mass to Him Who continues to love us even though we have caused His Sacred Heart so much suffering; pray to Him for the grace to love your enemies; for, without His help we will surely fail. And pray for your enemies; desire and pray for their good, that they too may obtain that greatest good, eternal blessedness with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to Whom be all glory and honor. Amen.
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.