Living love over silently spectating

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9 October 2017 

Do you want to live your life to the full? Do you want to be an instrument of love? In today’s gospel, we see the answer to these questions in the Good Samaritan.

The story speaks of the power of love to unite despite differences, to transcend culture or belief and to see your neighbour even in a complete stranger.

The story speaks, in a profoundly simple way, of what lies at the heart of personal relationships.

The story speaks of the compassionate, pastoral desire that lies within the human heart, filled with the mystery of care and concern for those in need.

Finally, the story speaks of the need for practical love. To cross the boundaries and become the hands and feet of Christ, for ‘Christ has no body but yours’ (St Teresa of Avila).

Jesus’ telling of the parable is in response to a lawyer who is a good, upright man. A man who seeks to prove his worthiness in the eyes of God by following the rules set before him. This is what he knows; he is, after all, a lawyer!

Jesus challenges the lawyer as to whether he truly understands what lies at the heart of the law; that love comes before law.

Living a life of love is one marked by compassion. Compassion is to suffer from the suffering, to share in the pain of the wounded. Living with compassion at the centre of your identity will bring you into solidarity with those in need, allowing the grace of God to come into their situation. This is what life is intended to be -an instrument of grace to a world in need. For it is in this act of practical love that you can become like Jesus, coming into the world not to ‘condemn’ but to ‘save’ through love. (John 3:17)

Sometimes human nature can lead even the best, upright men to become silent spectators, afraid to involve themselves in the lives of those in need. Compassion is an action of love, driving the silent spectators out of inaction and into work as they get their hands dirty.

This call to compassion is for all people, at all times. The Good Samaritan could have been a silent spectator, closing his mind and heart to the need before him. But he stopped and stooped – he came down from his ‘high-place’ and made a neighbour with the man, alone and in need. In entering into the man’s hurt, practical love comes into his life that provides healing: bandaging wounds, offering accommodation and meeting his basic physical needs.

The Good Samaritan models the love of Christ, God becoming a man amongst humanity to love amidst sin and to provide God’s healing, compassionate and merciful grace to a world in desperate need.

Today, pray to be humbled before your neighbour to be an instrument of grace in the world. To be a person of authentic compassion, commitment, communion and, above all, love to all whom you encounter.

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