“To be Good Samaritans” is the theme of the administration of our State Deputy, Chris Pierno. It offers us an opportunity to look always further beyond self. Consider the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Lk. 10:25-37). Jesus presents his listeners with a story that was shocking to their ears. The people prior to the Samaritan should have been the ones who stopped. The first was a priest, one who sacrificed in the Temple. He would be considered close to the Lord but did not see the connection between his sacrifice and caring for the person who was robbed and left on the side of the road. The second was a Levite, one of those that was set aside to serve the priests. Levites were seen as holy and close to the Lord. Yes, as with the priest, he “walks by on the opposite side.”
Samaritans were not considered faithful believers in the Lord. Their beliefs differed from Jewish belief. Faithful Jews would avoid going into Samaritan territory and considered them for lack of a better term, heretics. Yet, Jesus puts the Samaritan at the center of the story as the one who takes care of the robbed and wounded man. He bandages him carefully, takes him to an inn, and pays for a place for him to recover. People of faith of Jesus’s time would have found this scandalous to hear. Yet, the story was told to show that love of neighbor cannot be conditional. Our charity needs to be full and complete, especially as Knights.
Pope Francis offers us a reflection, an examination of conscience of sorts, especially as we Knights in the District of Columbia begin another fraternal year.
“It is remarkable how the various characters in the story change, once confronted by the painful sight of the poor man on the roadside. The distinctions between Judean and Samaritan, priest and merchant, fade into insignificance. Now there are only two kinds of people: those who care for someone who is hurting and those who pass by; those who bend down to help and those who look the other way and hurry off. Here, all our distinctions, labels and masks fall away: it is the moment of truth. Will we bend down to touch and heal the wounds of others? Will we bend down and help another to get up? This is today’s challenge, and we should not be afraid to face it. In moments of crisis, decisions become urgent. It could be said that, here and now, anyone who is neither a robber nor a passer-by is either injured himself or bearing an injured person on his shoulders” (Fratelli Tutti, 70).
May we always bear injured people on our shoulders, showing unconditional love of neighbor by being Good Samaritans.