The Good Samaritan | iPray with the Gospel
Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.
Luke 10: 25-37
Our Lord wasn’t just telling a nice story. He was giving a command: “Go and do likewise.” The Good Samaritan saw the man in need, he bound up his wounds, carried him on his own horse, brought him to the inn, took care of him there and, when he had to go, he paid for someone to look after him. Jesus says that he “had compassion”. The teaching is clear: ‘real compassion drives action’.
The text started with the commandment of Our Lord to love God and neighbour. They didn’t have any doubt about Who God is, but they did want to know who exactly my neighbour is. ‘Your neighbour’, says Our Lord, ‘is the one you see in need’. The three characters in the parable saw the man. The three of them were close (neighbours) to him. But two of them decided to ‘move away’. Only one saw him and had compassion.
It is always easier to feel compassion for people we don’t see (hungry children in Africa, families devastated by earthquakes or oods in the news) but not to feel compassion for those we see (my sister, my brother, my teacher, my classmate, the shop assistant, the postman, the policeman, the cyclist in the street…). There is always a good number of people we can help every day. We can’t sit on the fence when we see people in need. Mary, Help of Christians, help me to see those who need me and to have ‘compassion’ on them; ‘compassion that will drive action’.