“They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.”

The familiar parable of the Good Samaritan graces us in today’s gospel (Lk 10:25-37).  Jesus, responding to a scholar who wished to justify his good standing in the eyes of God (and, quite possibly, in the eyes of Jesus and those who were listening in), expounds on the meaning of being a good neighbor through the use of a story to which all present could relate.

Augustin Théodule Ribot, The Good Samaritan, before 1870

The focus of discussion on this passage usually is the kind Samaritan who helps an injured man while others avoid that same man; certainly this can give us much to ponder in how we relate to others.  But here let us turn to the victim instead.  Like the kindly stranger, this unfortunate man can be considered from at least two aspects: as Christ and as ourselves.

As Christ, who was unjustly persecuted, finally endured the Passion, but who ultimately had come to his aid only Simon of Cyrene (albeit by force) who aided Him physically and some women (including mom) who gave Him emotional support.

As ourselves, there are times that we can certainly relate to feeling beaten down and not receiving the help and support we expect from those close to us or from those in a position who should feel obligated to do so.  Just as Christ was undoubtedly grateful for the support He received in His times of trial, whether it be from angels (see Lk 22:43, Mk 1:13 and Mt 4:11) or men, so we should be thankful to all those who provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to us, especially when assistance comes from unexpected corners.

Let us never fail to thank with words, deeds, and especially prayer, those Good Samaritans in our lives, whether in heaven or on earth.

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