Today’s Thoughts: Who is our Neighbor? “The Samaritan lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him.” (Luke 10: 34) The scholar in our Gospel story today thought he was being clever. He asked questions to enhance his self-regard. Jesus told the Good Samaritan story so that the scholar could recognize the right answer himself. No country or religion or border defines our neighbor. When we look up from our daily struggle or busyness and take the time to stop, look and listen, the lives of others come into focus and compassion stirs. When we hurry to the other side of the road, indifference wins.
The Jesuit teacher and author John Kavanaugh, S.J., wrote in his book, Following Christ in a Consumer Society, that that we all inhabit a gospel that reveals who we are. In our society of capitalism, the reigning gospel measures worth by what we produce, consume, and possess. People without money, jobs, health, home, education, or status do not count for much. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians today, warns us that a false gospel is a curse. To measure life solely this way can smother us in emptiness.
The Good Samaritan was an outsider. He was familiar with insults: people moving away to avoid contact. No surprise that a person at home on the margins would notice a stranger sprawled in a ditch. Privilege, wealth, power, importance, anger, and fear had not compromised his vision. He was willing to stop, to look, and to listen. He was willing to act.
Transformation often begins when we allow others into our life, when we are willing to allow the world around us to touch our life in real was. No wonder that the poor often open their doors to those in trouble, they are not afraid to let the world in. Up close, suffering and injustice become real. As our moral vision grows, the situation of those at a distance become visible. When children fleeing violence show up at our border, we must find ways to help. God says: you will find me in the poor. That road will lead us home.
Have a blessed Monday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...