In the first reading today from Galatians 1:6-12, St. Paul says, “I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ.” Isn’t it interesting that there were folks who were preaching a false gospel from the very beginning? Seems to me the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Our Gospel reading today is Luke 10:25-37, the story of the good Samaritan. Most folks are familiar with it. A guy gets mugged, beaten severely and left for dead on the road. Two “holy” men walk right past, acting as though they never even saw him. Then a Samaritan, a man who would have been hated by the Jews, someone who could not possibly have a decent bone in his body, comes to the beaten man’s aid. Surely Jesus’ Jewish listeners would have been taken aback. Especially when they had to acknowledge that it was the Samaritan that was the good guy in the story.
One of the things I love about Scripture is that we can always insert ourselves into the story. Have you every been one of those “holy” people who walked right past someone in need, acting as though you didn’t even see them? Have you ever been the beaten man, crying out for help, only to have “righteous” people ignore your needs? Have you ever been like the scholar of the law, having to grudgingly acknowledge that someone you can’t stand may actually be a decent person? Have you ever been the good Samaritan, helping someone not because you had all the time and resources in the world, but because it was the right thing to do? My guess is that you have been all of those characters at one time or another. What will be your part in the story the next time? Will you be the one who walks on by, or the one who lends a helping hand?
Father, thank you for the many opportunities you will give us today to be a good Samaritan. May we do the right thing whenever the opportunity arises. Amen.