For the first reading today, we begin a trip through St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. St. Paul made it very clear that any “gospel” that conflicted with his preaching was a false gospel. Our Gospel reading for today is from Luke 10, the story of the Good Samaritan.
We’re all familiar with this story, right? A guy asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor? And Jesus tells a story about a guy who gets mugged and beaten and left for dead. A priest and a Levite pass by ignoring him. So a Samaritan helps him out. And they guy who originally asked the question has to admit that the Samaritan (though he couldn’t even bring himself to use the word) was neighbor to the man.
In Jewish eyes, the Samaritans were low-lifes. We won’t go into all the reasons here. Just know that they despised them. So, if Jesus were to tell you this story today, who would play the part of the Samaritan in your life story? Would it be someone of a different skin color than you? Would it be those snooty rich people from across the tracks? Or those low-life drug addicts and prostitutes? Or perhaps that weasley co-worker or backstabbing boss? Whoever it may be for you, put that person’s name into the story and then meditate on it. Imagine…The Good Boss. The Good Cheating Husband. The Good Politician. Whoever it is, that’s your neighbor, your Good Samaritan. The one you need to love as yourself.
Father, help us to see everyone as our neighbor, not just those we love or feel close to. Give us the grace to love those we find most difficult to love. Amen.