I imagine I need not explain the reason that Anne Élizabeth and Jean-Marie and I have chosen this page of the Gospel from among all the passages in the Bible to comment on the life and work of Jean Lapointe.

The parable of the Good Samaritan that we have just heard has become the universal symbol of what is best in humanity: compassion, benevolence, and free aid given to a complete stranger in difficulty.

I don’t know this person, but that doesn’t matter…this man, this woman, this child lying in the ditch is my fellow brother, my sister in humanity…it is my child. So, I stop, I go back, I bend down, I look after. I save a life.

How many times, on how many roadsides and with what benevolent aid has Jean Lapointe been the good Samaritan for us? How can we count those whom he has helped, directly or indirectly, to climb out of the ditch of dependency, addiction or alcoholism? Jean Lapointe, the good Samaritan, 40 years ago founded that House which bears his name and reminds us of the inn from the parable.

A good Samaritan still, of course, but in a gentler way when he swept us up with his guitar and his songs, stirring us out of our gloom and our blues…helping us understand that every cloud has a silver lining.

Yes, Jean Lapointe was a good Samaritan, a man who gave much and generously, without expecting anything in return.

But I want to pursue this idea somewhat further. It may not seem so, but there is something revolutionary in this passage of the Gospel, something our society needs today, a revolution in which Jean Lapointe was a witness, a protagonist and an inspirational example.

Have you noticed that the parable begins with a simple question: “And who is my neighbour?” Not a bad question, as such. But if it comes from a selfish heart, that question may become: “Who is my neighbour really? Who deserves to have me take care of him? That welfare case over there? Let him get a job, the lazy slacker! That girl in the street? Let her go back to her mother’s! That immigrant family? Let them go back home! It’s not my problem. Besides, we pay people to look after that lot.”

Have you noticed that, at the end, Jesus’ question has changed? It is no longer, “Who is my neighbour?” It has become, “Who was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The neighbour is me; it is you; it is any one of us when we come close to others.

And it is Jean Lapointe! I heard his testimony: the most important thing is to reach out to those who are suffering.

“To have a good heart is to be moved to help others.” His own words, simply spoken, simply true. This is what is needed in our society – women and men who have that heart, a good heart like John’s. To stop wanting to give without forfeiting anything. To begin to find genuine joy in the gift of self. Changing the world one person at a time. Starting with changing the world in myself, one day at a time.

Here we arrive at the mystery of Jean Lapointe’s life. How did Jean come to have this good heart? How did he come to be so moved to help others? In the parable, what makes the good Samaritan stop and help?
The mystery of Jean’s life. He must have learnt it young, among his family, with his mother and father, his brothers and sisters. But I believe there is something else. Could it be that having lain in the gutter and made it back out opens our eyes? Could that be what opens our hearts? Could it be that living, every day, aware of how fragile I am, makes me respectful of others’ fragility, even if they keep it well concealed and disguised?

There is a revolution in Jean’s life and a miracle: how is it that our cracks and faults and flaws become the opening-up to others? How can our wounds become love and compassion? How can the truth about ourselves grant us that humility which frees us to love, to help, to weep?

We must also mention the quality of resilience in Jean’s life. I was about to say the Gospel according to St. Jean. Because that is exactly what it is…the life of Jean as witness to the truest and most essential thing in the Gospel: a testimony to the love that lays down its life for its friends.

And now, to give her testimony to the life of Jean, his daughter Marie-Josée will speak to us.


A while ago, I said that we were witnesses to the mystery of Jean’s life. We can talk about a mystery for a long time and never get to the bottom of it or explain it fully.

Today, we are witnesses to the death of Jean. Some might say, “Death is not a mystery; it is a fact: there is the urn, the grave. Jean is gone.”

And yet, Jean gathered us here at this time, in a Church. He invited us to this spiritual encounter, to nudge us, with a touch of humour.

He would say, “I’m not afraid of death. I am a believer; I have no fear of it at all.”

Jean had faith, the faith he inherited from his parents, no doubt. But it was a faith strengthened by his life experience. Jean had been helped out of the gutter by the power of Love, by faith in love. He had a good Samaritan in his life, as can be seen through all the guardian angels who were sent to him.

And that same good Samaritan, Jean believes, is helping him out of the ditch of death, the grave of oblivion. “You don’t lose a friend;” Jean had said at the death of his friend Félix Leclerc, “you fall asleep with him for a while.”

Jean, our brother, has fallen asleep with Christ to awaken with Him to the fullness of life. To open his eyes and see the great party he looked forward to and to meet again with all those whom he loved.

But despite the party, and the little glass of scotch with St. Peter, he won’t forget us. If we close our eyes, if we are quiet, we can perhaps hear him whispering to us, singing softly:

“Amenez-vous les fleurs malades, ce matin on va au soleil. Oui, c'est au tour des fleurs malades de trouver au réveil, un été sans pareil.”

(“Bring all those who are sick, this morning we are going to the sun. Yes, it's the time for the sick to experience a summer like no other.”)

It is as if Jean is telling us, “Go out and love. Go forth and help. Be good Samaritans for others. I found help in helping others. I found life in giving life to others. As Jesus said in the Gospel: do this and you will live.”