Are We “Good Samaritans?”
There are a lot more people in the world today than there were two-thousand years ago, and yet we seem to be distancing ourselves from our neighbors more and more. In today’s gospel we hear the story of the Good Samaritan – the man who sees someone down and hurting and then responds with love and compassion. The Samaritan responds while those whom we expect to respond – the priest and Levite – simply walk by the person in need. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, if we were in a similar situation today, what would we do?
Required to Respond
The road between Jerusalem and Jericho was the only route between these two cities. It was a very dangerous walk because of the twists and turns and many places to hide. This provided the “bad guys” with the opportunity to rob the innocent people walking the road.
Today we know that our city, county, state, and Federal governments hire people to take care of others. We have people who put out fires, keep our streets safe, and pick up sick or injured people. They help when people are injured or in unsafe situations. We even have clergy and other folks to help when people are hurting spiritually or emotionally. Unlike two-thousand years ago, we expect all of these people to take care of those in need because it is a part of their jobs. Imagine what would happen if they didn’t!
Wanting to Respond
But this story isn’t so much about who walks by, but rather who responds. The Samaritan man took a great risk by going against his own safety and his own people in an effort to help a person who was from an entirely different culture than his own. And in doing so, the Samaritan moved from who he was to who he could become. He probably didn’t know it, but God called and he answered.
Unlike the Samaritan, we KNOW that we are called. We are called to move to the aid of others regardless of their skin color, language, economic position, or way of life! We are called to act with justice, to love with everything we have in us, and to respond with compassion to everyone we meet. The challenge is that we must want to respond.
Who’s Your Neighbor?
The lawyer in the story today asks the fundamental question, “Who is my neighbor?” Through the message of this parable, Jesus lets him (and all of us) know that every man, woman, and child who lives and breathes on this earth are our brothers and sisters – our neighbors. Knowing that and understanding that we are called to respond to the needs of our neighbors, we should think about the parable and ask ourselves again: If we were in a similar situation today, what would we do? Are we “good Samaritans”?
How do you respond to the needs of those in your community?
How do you respond to the needs of those outside of your community?
If you were walking through a “rough” part of town and came upon a person who had been severely beaten, what would you do?
Original article by Dcn. Jim Corder, 2004.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.