If someone were to call you a “good Samaritan” you should take that as a great compliment. That name has been synonymous with being kind, generous, and going out of your way to help others. This parable of the good Samaritan answers the question “who is my neighbor?” The answer of course is anyone who is in need. And so, the commandment to love our neighbor as yourself means everyone.
As important as what the Samaritan did, going above and beyond the call of duty, it is what he did not do. He did not look at the victim and see someone of another race or tribe. He did not wonder if the victim was somewhat to blame himself. He did not pass the buck and look around for someone else to help. He did not leave it to the authorities to answer the call-in need. He did not pause thinking he might be inadequate to help. He did not recoil from touching the stranger covered with blood. Instead, he acted immediately and thoroughly as a true neighbor to the man. Today we often do not know who even our neighbor next door is. And so, we become more reluctant to lend assistance.
There is a third person in the story who does not help the man who was attacked, and we probably don’t even realize it. It’s the victim himself. Of course, he didn’t help, he’s unable to move or even cry out for help. But isn’t that us, in our sinfulness? We’ve fallen. We’re wounded. We cannot bring ourselves back to life. We need Jesus, the real Good Samaritan. Only he has the power to heal us and to redeem us.
The story obviously teaches us how we should treat one another. At this time of year, when many of us will be traveling on vacations, weekend trips, or afternoon outings, we can easily imagine we are traveling on that road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Who knows when we’ll be called upon to answer that call for help and be the Good Samaritan.
Love, Peace, Joy