What an amazing day of readings. The first reading today is the beginning of the story of Jonah. He’s the guy who didn’t want to do what God called him to do and got swallowed by a great fish. Lots of lessons to be learned from this story.
The Gospel reading today is from Luke 10 – the story of the Good Samaritan. For context, you must know that the Jews hated Samaritans. They were half-breeds, dogs, scum. Any decent Jew could never dream that there was a good bone in a Samaritan’s body. I’m sure their attitude was, “What? Good? A Samaritan??” Yet Jesus tells the story of one who does good, while other Jews refuse to show kindness and mercy. This story no doubt stung Jesus’ listeners.
I think it’s always helpful to insert ourselves into Jesus’ stories. For this, picture Jesus telling you a story about someone you think could not possibly have any good in them. Let me see if I can help. The one who showed mercy was a [choose the one you dislike most] illegal immigrant, bigot, Muslim, gay person, atheist, Christian, ex-spouse, prisoner, drug addict, person of another color, conservative, liberal, rich person, prostitute, Democrat, Republican…the list goes on. Get the point? That person (or group of people) that you think are evil could easily be the Good Samaritan…while you turn and look the other way.
Father, help us to show mercy, and to recognize others who show mercy, even through our sometimes clouded vision. Amen.