“Go and do likewise.”

This week’s daily Masses began with Luke relaying Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37).  It starts when a legal scholar tests Jesus by asking Him what is required to gain eternal life.  Jesus turns it back on him by asking what is written in the law.  The lawyer answers correctly about loving God and neighbor.  But then the man asks who his neighbor is.  Jesus responds with the story of the Good Samaritan who comes upon a severely injured robbery victim, going above and beyond to help him after a priest and Levite had previously ignored the prostrate man.  The neighbor was the one who treated the victim with mercy — as the lawyer acknowledges.  Jesus closes with the words at top.   As is often the case, Jesus presents a great challenge to hearers of all times and places.  How difficult it is to treat the abused innocent among us with mercy, much less those who we find hard to love.  In the story, the Samaritan went far out of his way, taking lots of time and sacrificing significant resources to help out the poor half-dead man — a man who likely would have shunned the Samaritan in any other circumstance.  A radical move, but clearly the Samaritan had the radical movement of the Spirit in his heart.  This episode should make us think about how we show mercy.  Do we assist the downtrodden financially, physically, and spiritually?  Are we willing to go out of our way to help those in need, even if they wouldn’t or don’t appreciate it?  Do we see the face of Christ, sometimes marred as it was on the day of His execution, and treat these poor ones as we would Him?  Do we take the easy, socially acceptable route as the priest and Levite did or do we break out of such artificial barriers to take care of the least of our brethren?  Jesus tells us to do like the Samaritan did in order to gain life.  Is there anything on this earth that should stop us from doing just that?

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