by Ken Rolheiser
And who is my neighbour

They say there is one bible story you should read. It could change your life. Well this is that story as it was told to me and as it happened on highway 35 south of San Antonio Texas. The day was hot, the sun and wind scorching, as a man stumbled along the road as if drunk.

An SUV passed without slowing. Shortly after that a sheriff’s car sped by with lights flashing. Then a 1984 Ford station wagon came along, occasionally leaving a thin puff of smoke from the exhaust. The vehicle slowed, stopped and backed up to where the man now waited.

A Mexican  who had voted for the Democratic Party got out and walked over to the pedestrian who on closer examination appeared to be beaten and bleeding from a wound on the head. It had not been a good year for the Mexican farmer, since the election. And this was not a safe stretch of road due to recent drug war activity.

“Can I help you, sir? Are you O.K.?” In concern he bent over the Caucasian who was now leaning forward as if about to collapse. “Here, let me help you to my car and I will take you for some help.”

And so they went to a medical clinic in Encinal where the victim of violence was tended to and pronounced fit to leave. The Mexican paid the clinic expenses, took the man to the Holiday Inn Express, got him a room for two nights and assured him he would check in on him on his way back from Mexico in a couple of days.

A modern Good Samaritan story might involve someone on the media highway of the Internet. It could be an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in jail and tortured for speaking about justice.

Real Example: -n- unjustly imprisoned for 5 years for writing words of peace in Saudi Arabia.

It is easy for us to pass by and not notice him. His children cry out in the video, but that is easily silenced. Are we using the tools at our disposal to be Good Samaritans in 2017?

The Good Samaritan story from Luke 10:25-37 was told by Jesus to answer the question: who is my neighbour? On the final judgement day we will be rewarded or punished on how we responded to our neighbour’s needs. Those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, looked after the corporal and spiritual needs of their neighbours will be invited to their place in the Kingdom.

In today’s world it is a temptation to not notice our neighbour’s needs and to be selective in dispensing our charitable efforts. At our convenience we send support to the Red Cross, Missions, Foster Parents Plan and such.

Once a year we drop something into the Salvation Army kettle. But when we are challenged to accept Syrian refugees, to use one recognizable example, we criticize our governments for spending money and for the security risk in opening our borders and hearts.

And who “‘…was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’
The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’
Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”

(543 words)