How can we be a ‘good’ samaritan?

Blog Published: October 4, 2022
By Sister Audra Turnbull, IHM
Good Samaritan

Praying with the Sisters—October 03, 2022
This reflection was shared during our Praying With The Sisters live-streamed prayer on Facebook. A Nun’s Life was joined by guest Sister Audra Turnbull. She is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI. 

(The video recording of our prayer can be found below the blog.)

Reflection on Luke 10:25-37

As fortune would have it today's Gospel comes from Luke. The gospel of Luke is very dear to us IHMs. My novice director said IHMs don’t have our founders' writings to guide us but what we have are the Gospels and in particular Gospel of Luke. So I’m happy to have the opportunity to reflect on this Gospel. 

How can we be a ‘good’ samaritan? What does it mean to be good? As I reflected on today’s Gospel I thought about the qualities of the samaritan that contributed to the compassionate act. 

First off, the samaritan was paying attention. They had their eyes open on the journey mostly because it was a dangerous path. The robbers were obviously out in full force that day. However, the samaritan switched from self-preservation to selfless compassion when they saw the person on the side of the road. They used some quick discernment skills to determine what was actually going on. Truly being attentive means we can decide how to act. This person was willing to assume the risk of stopping to help. 

There are absolutely times when we need to protect ourselves but we can’t live in that mindset all the time. It cuts us off from seeing the other as they truly are. When all we care about is how to protect our interests we fail at being neighbors as Jesus calls us daily. 

Second, the Samaritan gave out of their need. We actually don’t know the financial situation of the samaritan but we can possibly assume the person wasn’t super wealthy. The person was traveling alone on a donkey after all so they had some means but again not super wealthy. This person also gave away their time. They cared for the individual for a night and then asked the innkeeper to take over. I would imagine if someone was left for half-dead then the care would be fairly expensive. 

Giving of our time and money to the point where we will feel it is hard. Especially in these tough and uncertain economic times. We won’t get our time back and we have no idea when the economic conditions will improve. But Jesus asks us to love with everything we have. 

We hear in today’s psalm of God’s ‘majestic and glorious deeds.’ These deeds included liberating the Israelites out of Egypt, providing manna in the desert and so many other deeds of justice. Taking a deeper look at these stories we see God worked through people in order to do these ‘majestic and glorious deeds.’ People like Moses, who told God he had a speech impediment and advised God to pick someone else. There’s no rational explanation for why God chooses people to do ‘majestic and glorious deeds.’ We just know that our call is to respond.

God recognizes our qualities like in the samaritan. Our task is to also recognize our qualities and work for a more just world. 

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