Our political discourse has degraded to an increasingly violent and vitriolic distain for not only competing ideas but for the actual persons who hold them. The more hysterical the rhetoric, the more it seems to garner support among what appears to be a callous and uncaring faction of our nation.
Somewhere along the journey we have lost sight of the meaning of the parable of the good Samaritan. Samaritans were considered by some Israelites to be almost “sub-human”. They were often called dogs...not the cute cuddly puppy...but rather the mangy half-starved denizens of the night who wander the dark streets in search of a morsel of food.
And it is a Samaritan precisely who is the hero of Jesus’ story. It is the dehumanized one who acted with humanity; one who acted as God would want us to act. Who was his sister? Who was his brother? Surely not an Israelite who after all most likely hated or despised him... but in the very midst of that knowledge, the Samaritan was moved with pity and cared with gentleness and kindness for the one who, most likely, would not have done the same for him.
This Sunday’s Gospel offers us the chance to reflect on who we wish to be...the heartless priest who passes by... or the good Samaritan who risks being gentle and kind to someone who may have considered him an enemy?
God cries out to us to be compassionate and kind toward others especially those in need, especially to those whom our society marginalize and despise. We know who they are...what are we willing to do for them? Are we willing to risk being good Samaritans? Are we willing to stand up on their behalf and demand justice for them?