Saturday, July 9, 2016

Who is My Neighbor? A Different Slant.

  This Sunday's Gospel text is the well known story of the Good Samaritan. (Lk 10:25-37) This is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, one that is familiar even to many non-believers.  Most preachers, myself included over the years, focus on the priest and the levite who pass by and then on the Samaritan, the outsider, who proves to be the real neighbor. There is indeed a powerful message and a deep truth in that perspective.  I would like to look at this parable, however, from a different point of view, that of the man who was beaten and robbed, the man in the ditch.  Who was/is that man?  I would suggest that he/she is every person who suffers, especially those who suffer violence. Put into today's context that person is the victim of ISIS, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the victims of police brutality (Of course I know that most police are not guilty of that), police themselves who have been shot and killed, Muslim victims of ISIS in Istanbul, indeed all the  victims of violence, war, crime and terrorism, then we can add women and children who have been raped and abused. Add to that list those who suffer from sickness of every kind.  Look into that ditch and see all of them.

    Think now of the man in the story.  He is on the road to Jericho, in the desert where there are more robbers and wild animals.  His brothers in faith have walked by.  He fears dying.  He sees a Samaritan, an outsider, from another religion.  He must now be terrified, but it is the outsider who provides help and healing.  That outsider, the story tells us, has compassion. Maybe the Samaritan has suffered himself.  Perhaps he knows what it is like to be "in the ditch".  Have you and I been "in the ditch"?

    Now look at the Cross of Christ, look at His suffering.  He is the ultimate One in the ditch.  He is in the ditch with all of us.  In rising He lifts all of us from the ditch.  In rising He shows us compassion, compassion that we can then share with others.

    As I watch the news and peruse the internet I see people trying to find blame for why the man is in the ditch, or blame for why there is a ditch.  Few are talking about being a real neighbor and showing compassion--to all. Few also admit that they are in the ditch and are in need of that compassion.

   Again, look at the cross.  See compassion!  Be compassion!  That is what is needed today.


  1. Especially in light of the most recent events in the news, this is so timely. Nothing will change until we can give and receive compassion. We do need to recognize the ditch and those in the ditch and then do something about it with compassion and not violence.

  2. Amen, Thank you for your comment

  3. This made me cry Father,for I am in the ditch. But Alas, God is with us. Thank you for this beautiful reflection and holding the mirror for us to Dr ourselves in a new way. God bless