This Sunday we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan.
When I was a child and first heard this story I simply thought that the “Samaritan” was a very nice and kind man who took care of the beaten man at the side of the road above and beyond the expectation of what two other men would not do. He was the kind hero, and I should strive to be like him.
Later in life I learned that a “Samaritan” was probably the last person that the hearers of the parable ever expected to be given “hero” status. To the people Jesus was talking to the very word “Samaritan,” made them only think of enemies and abusers of their very pure religion. “How could a Samaritan ever do anything worthy of anything good?” Yet it was the “Samaritan” who proved the true neighbor to the man beaten and left for dead at the side of the road.
This parable is here to challenge us. It challenges us to see all people as our neighbor and that all are deserving of our care no matter what their condition, race, orientation or religion. But Jesus also challenges us to see the kindness, caring and compassion of all of God’s children. It is not only Christians who are kind but also Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheist and whatever political organization we are opposed to at the time. All people are capable of unbelievable loving kindness and compassion. We are invited to witness and acknowledge this and respond in kind.
In this era of anger, racial and ethnic intolerance, Jesus invites us to see each other, with our enemies included, as children of God worthy of love.
“What are we going to do with all this Grace? What are we going to do with all this Forgiveness? What are we going to do with all this Love?