Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
“Well kid,” said Dr. Edgar with a smug grin of discovery, “you’re going blind.” As a teenager, my vision wasn’t 20/50—it was three fingers at three feet. I thought he was kidding. “No, I’m not kidding. Look. I wrote it down!” Dr. Edgar diagnosed me with keratoconus, a condition that affects vision through the cornea. What it means for anyone with keratoconus is a six to eight week recovery period following a fcorneal transplant; what it means for a teenager is wearing an eye patch to school and being subject to ridicule. Honestly, you would never recognize the abusive power of the silly words “one-eyed Willie” until having a corneal transplant.
One day, Dr. Edgar was looking over my progress. “Not bad,” he said.
“I mean, ‘not bad’ for a kid. Your corneas were benevolently donated by a little girl who tragically died at a young age. Now you can see. Not bad.”
I think Jesus’ story is sometimes told too narrowly. Of course, it’s important for us to act like the good Samaritan; but I think it’s more important to remember that we are more often the one lying in the road. I, for one, am called to appreciate the Samaritans around me.
—Austin Freeman is an English teacher and the Test Prep Coordinator for Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL.
Loving God, help us to recognize the needs of our neighbor and serve as your hands in our communities. It is sometimes easier to serve others than to allow ourselves to be served; grant us the humility to accept help when we need it, allowing others to be a Good Samaritan to us.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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