|Of course, I think to myself, as I read the familiar story in the gospel today. The Good Samaritan. I get it, and I tell myself that I am sure the Samaritan is the person I would be in that same situation. I wouldn’t walk by, quickly, averting my eyes like the priest and the Levite. When the story of the Good Samaritan remains a story, I can play a hero role.
But is that how I live my life? The Samaritan showed compassion and follow through. He didn’t just help the man who was lying by the side of the road half-dead. He helped him and gave the innkeeper money to continue to care for the man. The Samaritan was going to check on his way back to make sure the innkeeper was compensated.
That’s what we would call going above and beyond. That is more than making a donation, filling a bag with canned goods to bring to the food bank, helping out for an afternoon on a community project. All of those things are good. They take some time and treasure. When I ask myself the question about whether I love God and my neighbor in the way described in the gospel; I’m not so sure I can say yes. The mercy of the Samaritan came with compassion and commitment. God will love me even when I fall short, but I can do more to be like the Samaritan with compassion and commitment. I can turn to God to help me do the harder thing, to go beyond the surface and show compassion to those around me. I can help a colleague who asks for assistance on a project even when I’d rather just go home. I know there are ways I can lighten the load of those around me, those in my neighborhood and my city who need my help not just once but with commitment.
I ask God to help me be like the Samaritan. I pray in the words of the gospel: