Feast of Blessed Isidore DeLoor, Passionist
If a person does a good deed for someone, that person is referred to as a "Good Samaritan."
That phrase has worked its way into our common language. But it is not a phrase used by Jews of Jesus’ day. For them there were no "Good Samaritans." Samaritans were bad, unclean people who were to be avoided. When Jesus used the Samaritan as the hero of his parable, it would have caused raised eyebrows and resentment. The parable was even more shocking to the ordinary Jew because Jesus described the priest and the Levite as having religious flaws. The priest was considered the holiest person among the Jews. Levites assisted in the Temple worship and were highly regarded. If anyone reflected the character of God, it would be a servant of the Temple. But both the priest and the Levite crossed to the other side of the road, ignored the man lying on the side of the road, and went on their way.
It was the Samaritan who obeyed the Law, not the holy priest or Levite: "Love your neighbor as yourself." The priest and Levite were moved by fear and therefore could not love. The Samaritan "was moved with compassion." The word ‘compassion’ might be equivalent to what we mean when we say "gut feeling." A gut feeling is one that comes from the deepest part of who we are. ‘Compassion’ is usually used in the New Testament to refer to the love of Jesus or of God for others. It is a deep and inescapable compassion, a gut feeling that insists on taking action. When that Samaritan looked at the victim lying half-dead by the side of the road, something happened in his gut, making it impossible for him to walk away. He didn’t decide to help this guy on the basis of how worthy the victim was. He helped him because of how needy he was. Not only was the Samaritan’s compassion based on need, it also was expressed in action. He didn’t just say, "Boy, that’s tough! I’ll pray for you." He didn’t just say he cared, he showed he cared. Even though it cost him time, energy and money.
Mother Teresa, when asked how she had accomplished such great things in her life, said this: "None of us can do anything great on our own, but we all can do a small thing with great love." Real Christians display real love to those who need it most to those traveling the same road.
Today is a special feast day for Passionists. Blessed Isidore De Loor (1881-1916) was born in Flanders on the family farm. He joined the Passionists in1908. Among the Passionist religious, and among the laity, he was admired for his charity and simplicity, his dedication to work and his spirit of recollection. His right eye had to be removed in 1911, because of a tumor. Having suffered through several months of intense pain, he succumbed to cancer and pleurisy on October 6, 1916. We ask Blessed Isidore to strengthen all those struggling today with cancer.
Fr. Don Webber, C.P. is the Provincial Superior of Holy Cross Province and lives in Chicago, Illinois.