(Deut. 30:10-14; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37)

Today, many people are still passing on the opposite side of the needy people of our time. They are indifferent to the needs of the people around them. In our world today people have become cut off from their environments in some way due to illness, loneliness, depression, poverty or rejection. With the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that we have a responsibility to come to the aid of those in need. An act of compassion may lead you into another act of kindness and finally even a caring relationship may blossom. The power of love demonstrated in the parable lies in the Samaritan’s personal involvement in the needy stranger.

Jesus invites us to go and do the same; like the Samaritan and not the other religious persons. Let us not pass through the opposite side of the needy ones. We may not have all that it takes to help the needy. But let us not pass by. Let us identify with them without thinking about the reason behind their situation or their ethnic affiliation. Jesus did not pass by on the opposite side of the people of his time. Mother Teresa did not pass by on the opposite side of the needy of her time. Do not pass by on the opposite side. Identification with the needy brings one closer to God who is compassionate and merciful.

To be a Good Samaritan is a risky business. You do not know where it will end. The parable does not command us to go out, risk our lives and become heroes. It invites us to reach out, risk our pride and become compassionate humans. It is a call to an expansive love and not so much to an expensive love. We have to then ask ourselves: are our eyes open to see the pain in other people’s eyes? Are our ears open to hear the cry in other people’s voice? Are our hearts open to become involved in other people’s hurts? Or are we always indifferent to the plight of others because of dislike, mistrust or prejudice?

A neighbour is a person who acts with compassion toward another. May God give us the grace to love and care not just for the needy strangers but also the needy in our families, parish and communities.