These thoughts were originally posted to Facebook years ago as I reflected on the passage of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of St. Luke.
Why Compassion Matters
How oft we forget the care Christ showed to those destitute and cast aside by society. How oft we forget the story of a Good Samaritan; an outcast in his time, who cared for a man half dead when no one else would. The Samaritan, too, was a neighbor to the Jews. As Christians, we tend to fall prey to the ideological fallacies of politics and nationalism; as hatred and even racism festers in our hearts towards our neighbors. Be those neighbors Christians, atheists, Muslims, straight, gay or etc. add it to the list. Jesus calls wrong for what it is. But none was as friendly and caring toward the outcast as He was and is and he calls us to do the same. How are you distancing yourself from your fellow neighbor? Can you love them as you love God?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?”
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
“You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
Who Is My Neighbor?
Jesus makes it clear that no matter who our neighbor is or whatever their background may be our duty as faithful servants of the Most High is to love God with all our being and love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves.
So then, who is your neighbor today?
Is it a Republican? A Democrat?
Is it Joe Biden and Kamala Harris? Is it Donald Trump and Mike Pence?
A white man? A black woman?
A heterosexual? A transgender?
A racist? A terrorist?
An atheist? A muslim?
An evangelical? A fundamentalist?
Whatever someones affiliation, orientation, observation or predilection, especially in a pluralistic culture, it mustn’t change our conduct nor our disposition to emulate and reflect the compassionate heart of Christ to all.
Our heart should reflect that of our Lord in showing love, compassion, forgiveness, silence in moments where silence is required, tears where required, food for the hungry, open hearts for the hopeless, a shelter for the homeless, open arms to the sojourner, and yes, forgiveness for the sinner.
Go and do the same.
Our salve should produce healing because we were healed and are still going through the process of being restored and sanctified for God’s glory, day by day.
Go and do the same.
Our words need to flow out of a place of redemption, our language needs to reflect the words of Christ, and our conduct, His, so that when people see us they see not the man or the woman but the Christ who guides us. We must be but hands and feet whereas our heart and our mind belong to the Savior.
Go and do the same.
Find the broken-hearted, the suicidal, the depressed, the anxious, the fearful, the hopeless and confused souls who have come to an end of themselves and offer the hands and feet of Christ without asking for a dollar in return.
As Jesus instructed and lived, go and do the same.