Getting involved can be a messy business. The trouble we let ourselves in if we decide to answer a cry for help is beyond our knowledge. More often, it is easier for us to close our eyes and pretend that we do not know the problem unfolding before our eyes.
Both the priest and the Levite had one question in their mind upon seeing the badly beaten man, “What will happen to me if I stop?” Non-involvement creates walls, fences and divisions. Every wall erected creates prisoners on both sides. Every fence built makes neighbors distant. Every division made takes people apart.
The good Samaritan is a complete expression of what St. Augustine once prayed to God that, “By loving the unlovable, You made me lovable.” The most pure love and the truest love do not make sense.
Unfolding before us are two frequent images of our human society: a victim needing help and a helper who is also a victim.
Some of us may have been the victims before. Some of us may have been left wounded by the roadside of life and we called for help. No priest or Levite came to our rescue. Maybe not even a good Samaritan. And we felt ignored, rejected and abandoned.
And maybe some of our friends, acquaintances, enemies, and fellow human beings right now are still on the roadside. Their wounds may not be visible physically, but their spirits have been wounded deeply. They may not have been divested of their possessions, but they may have been robbed of their lives. And they are crying for help.
We do not need to go far. Moses said to the people that we need not go up in the sky or go across the sea in order to follow the command of God. It is something very near to us, already in our mouths and in our hearts. We have only to carry it out.
The parable of the good Samaritan exposes the essence of Christianity. Christianity is love not just in thought, but especially in action. Christianity should not just be talked about in churches, but should also be expressed in places especially where victims abound. .
A little boy was once asked what he thought of Christians and he said, “Christians are mild, weak, quiet, people who never fight or talk back." Then he added, "Daddy is a Christian but Mother isn't."
We are reminded in today’s Gospel that when somebody is in need, we should never walk by like what the priest did, that relationship matters more than rules, unlike what the Levite thought, and that when somebody offers to help, we should not stay in the ditch.
What must we do to inherit everlasting life? Be a good Samaritan. Or as Jesus wisely said, “Go and do likewise.”
11 July 2010