Which of these three... proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"..."The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
The mercy of God is fathomless and it has many dimensions. In the passage for our reflection during this month, Jesus speaks about yet another aspect of mercy - as compassion for others. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus points us to this aspect of mercy through the actions of the good Samaritan, the one whom is described as "the neighbor". The Samaritan had no cause to show any sort of compassion to the man in distress, because Samaritans were considered enemies of Jews. Compare this with the indifference shown by the Jewish priest and the Levite, who were in better circumstances to help the man in distress. The Samaritan displayed uncanny courage and and an even more greater attribute- compassion - for the man in distress.
There is a very common tendency to associate mercy to tender feelings or condescending attitudes. But Jesus proves that mercy is not just about these, but he emphasizes the element of "mercy in action" as compassion shown to others- the compassion that leads to care for others. Jesus categorically proves that unless mercy does not result in an action of compassion and care for others, it is meaningless or fruitless.
Love for God is always operative in love for one's neighbor. We simply cannot profess love for God while we ignore our neighbor. In our first reflection of the year, we discussed how the mercy of God is often linked to the mercy displayed by human beings and that it does not occur in a vacuum or merely in terms of "our" relationship to God. Therefore, it is pertinent that while we profess our love for God, either in our prayers or in our expressions, we ought to deeply reflect on how we love our neighbor and how we show compassion towards our neighbor.
We do not have to run around looking for people to have compassion on. They are everywhere, around us, in our daily lives, some times even more close to us than we think. They may not be so much as physically assaulted as the man in the parable was, but many are emotionally, mentally and spiritually troubled to even greater extent. Ignored by people who are supposed to care, we may be their only source of mercy that can be exercised through compassion. Our presence, patience, prayers and practical help will heal the wounds and may pave the way for deliverance and redemption of a person in need.
As we walk with God experiencing his great mercy in our own lives, let us be mindful of the people around us who are in great need of a good neighbor. In a world that is increasingly polarized in the name of religion, caste, color, race, wealth etc. we as Christians and as Jesus Youth, are called to exhibit the mercy of God in much more obvious ways than our pious practices. In this Jubilee Year of mercy, Pope Francis exhorts each one of us to be "the neighbor" of the parable, in our daily lives to people around us. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit fills us with the wisdom and courage to exercise mercy through compassion and care in times of need.
We serve Jesus in the poor, we do all this for Him. Everything we do -prayer, work, sacrifice- we do for Jesus. Our life does not have any other meaning, any motivation other than Him who loves us deeply.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I ask myself and I also ask you : do we allow God to write the history of our lives or do we want to write it? This speaks to us of docility : are we docile to the Word of God? Yes, I want to be docile, but are you able to listen to [his Word], to hear it? Are you able to find the Word of God in the history of each day, or do your ideas so govern you that you do not allow the Lord to surprise you and speak to you?...I am sure that all of us today are saying ... the Priest and the Levite were selfish. It's true : the Samaritan, the sinner, did not flee from God!. And so I ask that "the Lord grant that we may hear his voice which says to us : Go and do likewise"
Morning meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Martha on Monday, 7 October 2013
Assist the sick
When we encounter the sick in his misery and nothingness, we discover a journey and a call which leads to the likeness of Christ; who had made himself poor to make us rich (Cfr. 2 Cor8:9) Reflecting on the bible verse, let us make the best opportunity to serve the powerless and sick around us. Using all our resources - profession, money, health, time etc - let's work out concrete gestures, like providing them medicines and other needs, helping their families, visiting them, praying for them etc let's try to be close to them , support and strengthen them. Also being vigilant about the external momentary needs of others, and reaching them our timely help, let's strive to be a good neighbour and start off our new journey of 'Christ likeness'.
Mother Mary, Mother of the sick, pray for us. Hail Mary...