What would the Good Samaritan do? By Virginia Harris, C.S.B.


On a road from Jerusalem to Jericho a traveler is mugged, robbed, and left to die. Jesus says that not only one but two individuals of high standing representing the community see the injured man and refuse to help, even crossing to the other side of the road to avoid him.

Ah, but then comes a Samaritan – a lowly and disrespected tribe of the day – who stops to help the man. Jesus says pointedly, “…he had compassion on him…”

The Good Samaritan of the 21st Century

Virginia Harris, C.S.B


Video – Published on Oct 24, 2016/ Photo below of Ellen – October 31, 2016 

The unconditional selflessness and compassion and immediacy of the Good Samaritan has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Jesus shares the parable with his followers in the Gospel of Luke in response to a question, “Who is my neighbor?” (Evidently, the divine law “Love thy neighbor as thyself” wasn’t specific enough for the disciples.)

A traveler is attacked and left to suffer and die on a perilous road. Two religious leaders cross the road to avoid the wounded traveler in need. But a Samaritan without hesitation stops to bind the wounds and take him to a safe place to recover, saving his life. However long it takes, the Samaritan tells the innkeeper, he will pay for it.

Think about this for a moment: The two religious leaders are more concerned with “What will happen to me if I stop?,” while the Good Samaritan is compelled by “What will happen to him if I don’t stop?” The ideal neighbor, the God-inspired neighbor, is now obvious to the disciples: He that showed mercy to the stranger…without measure.

Voting in the United States has begun in many states, to finish with a newly elected President on November 8. A United Methodist pastor, Tracey Leslie, wrote an insightful post on Facebook encouraging people to vote for candidates who are consistent with the Good Samaritan’s example of mercy, kindness, and goodness. After all, isn’t that how we should reason and think through all our decisions that impact others? I like her message.

So what would the Good Samaritan do today?

Perhaps the better question is, What can you do to be a Good Samaritan? The most obvious point of the parable is that whenever you have an opportunity to help someone in need, never be guided by fear or lack, anger or hatred – or even strangeness! That is selfish, me-only emotional thinking. It is not spiritually-divine reasoning. And Christ Jesus was crystal clear: That is not the ideal neighbor.

Only the spirit of divine Love should motivate and compel you – Love supplies you with abundance of practical and healing ideas (no lack!), Love fills you with good intentions (no fear or hatred!), and Love directs positive actions (no harm!) that benefit and bless your friends, community, world.

When one’s motive begins with being a good neighbor, a contributing citizen, selflessly desiring only good for the community, the state, and the nation, this is abiding by the commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is an effective prayer that leads and sustains good thoughts and deeds, through the election and on to expectation of good governance.

Come November, your votes may be in the majority or they may not. But you can always be the Good Samaritan and show unconditional healing mercy and kindness to your fellow citizens. It’s the divine law.



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