The Good Samaritan: a story we all grew up with, someone we were taught to aspire to be. How far up is this on my ladder of priorities today? We grew up with a different concept of “who is my neighbour?” Then our front doors were always open, food was generously shared and children freely ran into and played in the neighbours’ homes. Today our doors are more often shut. We mind our own business.
We must be mindful what happens behind closed doors. We close the door today in the name of security. Behind the closed door there lies a danger. We can become pre-occupied only with affairs concerning self and family. In so becoming, we will be like the lawyer in today’s Gospel wondering “and who is my neighbour?” Self-preservation can be trying to isolate all good for ourselves but it runs the danger of self-destruction when we stop crossing to the other side because our spiritual self feeds on doing good to others.
We must be mindful that deep in our heart we are enabled with the capacity to be good to others. All of us has the “Good Samaritan” in us. We are capable of being “moved with compassion”, enough to make us cross to the other side to help people in need and fulfil the Law of our existence to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. Be mindful this is in you.
“For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out”. (Today’s first reading)
Carry it out by crossing to the other side. We are surely aware of people in our life who are in some need, “injured”. They may be struggling materially or are in poorer health. They could be in trauma emotionally or are lost spiritually. People in our life are people placed in our sight. They are not narrowed only to those behind the same closed door of our immediate family and friends. God place them in our sight so that God can help them through us.
We have many opportunities to bring out the “Good Samaritan” in us. Today’s message tells us we cannot be idle when we see some person in some need. When we stop what we are doing for ourselves and do what is needed for the person in need, we are like the Good Samaritan who paused his own journey to help the man in need. When we give up our time, share our resources or use our little talent for a person in need, we consciously cross to the other side.
The homilist today shared another view, from the man lying injured. Perhaps it is from this lowly prone, helpless perspective that we better understand this call to cross to the other side. In the twists of life, we too have found ourselves “injured” and relied on others to help us. There were good Samaritans coming into our life when we most needed them. It is through them that we experience God; how He intervened in our personal life to do all He has done for us.
Sometimes God seem a bit too slow. Maybe it is because no one would cross the road for us? Life has to be lived with open doors, and minding the business of one another out of love is the answer to the lawyer’s question, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
15th Ordinary Sunday