Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter: Year 1
“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.” (Luke 10: 31 and 32)
This is the story of the Good Samaritan. It is in response to a lawyer who asks, “Who is my neighbor?” and answered by our Lord Jesus. Jesus begins by showing the un-neighborly acts by persons thought to have compassion, but did not.
Passing by on the other side seems to be the ancient way of avoiding difficult situations. We still pass by difficult situations today. We don’t want to have the difficult conversations about the sins of racism, or mental illness, or reconciliation with those who have been wrongly incarcerated, or even those who have differing opinions than ourselves. Too many of us would rather have no contact or communication than to do the hard work of unraveling a tangled set of Christmas lights. We do this knowing that once done, the results will be beautiful.
Human language is a beautiful thing. We have ways of reasoning through the spoken and written word that other forms of life do not have. However, we fail to use dialogue in the best ways, ways that will bring us together in more loving relationships. But the truth is, we must want the virtue of compassion for ourselves first. We must want to be able to live in harmony with others. There should be nothing, no subject, that we cannot talk about. Such conversation requires discipline. We must have in place rules of respect and tolerance. But like the Good Samaritan, we must start with compassion. We have been passing by on the other side for far too long.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John