We hear the story of the Good Samaritan this week – one of the most familiar in all the gospels. It comes in response to the question from the scholar of “Who is my neighbor?” after Jesus gives him what we know to be the ‘most important commandment’ – “love God…and love your neighbor as yourself.” The reading gives us two questions to contemplate. First, who I am in this story – the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan? It is easy to say the Samaritan for we certainly would like to be. But am I? Or do I hesitate to help someone in need because I am too busy, or I am concerned for my safety, or it might be too big of a challenge, or any of a myriad of other reasons? Have I gone on the other side of the street – or rolled my car window up – to avoid being confronted with potential need? The second question relates to “who is my neighbor?” Does it make a difference who is asking for or in need of the help? Is it only those I like, or is it those who Christ brings into my life?
As Vincentians, we are called to minister to all whom Christ brings before us. We are not to judge how worthy or unworthy they are to receive help. Do I set aside my prejudices especially when the person in need is different than me? Do I base my help on how much I like them? Do I make myself available to help others when they need help, or do I insist on helping only when I have time?
Lord Jesus, help me to see those who are in need whom you bring before me. Allow me to be open to their needs. Help me to set aside my schedule and my needs that I may tend to the needs of others. Allow me to be like the Good Samaritan who brings your love to others. Strip away my impatience, my fears, my prejudices and my pride leaving me to humbly serve in your name with kindness, generosity and compassion. We pray all of this in your name. Amen