Think about the last time you or someone you took care of caught the flu. You probably stopped the normal course of daily life in order to deal with the illness. Now think about the Samaritan in this well-known parable. He was no less busy than the priest or the Levite who had passed by the wounded man in the street. He wasn’t just wandering along the road; he was going about business. The Samaritan’s business, though, wasn’t the most important thing to him. No, more important was his willingness to look at the beaten man and suffer with him—not physically, but in his heart and thoughts. Compassion welled up in him and took precedence over his plans. And so, a man’s life was saved. No matter who we are or where we live, we all face the same question:
“Is the normal course of my day more important than the suffering I see around me?” Perhaps someone you meet has been robbed of confidence or joy. Maybe someone seems beaten and overwhelmed by challenges. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see these people, to hear what they aren’t saying, and to have the compassion to stop and be a “neighbour.”
When you stop to take care of someone, to suffer with him or her, you are doing far more than offering human kindness. You are becoming a vessel for Christ. He is ministering at that very moment—to both of you! Repeatedly in the Gospels, we read, “Jesus had compassion”— because people were harassed, helpless, sick, blind, or anxious. The reason didn’t matter; their suffering moved him, and he acted. Now he is telling all of us,
“Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).