Today’s scriptures ask us: “Who is our neighbor?”, a particularly relevant question I believe for me a 21st century American, whose life is pretty good—many would say privileged. Almost daily, I hear or read of neighbors who face challenges like, another hurricane, or flood, people fleeing unjust treatment by others… I meet people and cultures very much different from my small world where is all I have to do is turn up the heat or air conditioning if I am uncomfortable and maybe pay a little more on my utility bill.
I can and often do, behave like the priest or Levite who really doesn’t have time to deal with this particular person’s bad luck. I go to the other side of the road by quickly moving on to what I’m reading or more often not opening that new request from Catholic Relief Services. I know where I’m going, and I don’t have time for this distraction of someone in need. I most often figure, there’s really nothing I can do about this persons’ or peoples’ ills. Just sending a few dollars really won’t make any difference anyway, will it? Sometimes, more and more often I stop and think, if I were in that person’s predicament, how would I like them to respond to me. I even once in a while choose to become more informed or even to send a few dollars of aid.
Thank you, God, for the many gifts you’ve given me and help me to be a Good Samaritan today, by listening and responding like I would like others to listen to me if I were in their situation. Help me be a gentleman and be generous wherever I am able.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.