On the Opposite Side

Posted by James Hahn on


Luke 10: 25-37

Why did the others pass by on the opposite side?  Did they not have the time?  Was the victim not like themselves?  Was the victim black and judged as lazy?  Was the victim white and judged as privileged?  Did the others pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a police officer and probably deserved the beating?  Did they pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a priest/pastor and was most likely an abuser anyway?  Did they see the victim as dirty and evil because he was gay?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because the victim is just a worthless, homeless person contributing nothing to society?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because she sells herself in the night and has had abortions?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because the wheelchair and drool are proof that this victim has no real quality of life?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because there's really no helping those drug addicts?  Why did those people pass by on the opposite side? Why do we?  Why do I?

In some way, shape, or form we all tend to pass by on the opposite side.  Maybe it was the way we were raised or the way we look at life.  Perhaps we have a lifelong habit of judging others who are different from ourselves.  Maybe we think that since we love Jesus, we're good and that's what really matters, like a person who made it to a lifeboat but won't help others in, for whatever reason.

Today's Gospel shows us that in order to truly be like God, to imitate Jesus, we have to stop passing by on the other side.  We (and I say this most especially to myself) need to get down and dirty.  We, like the Samaritan, have to get down off our high horse and help those who are victims of sin and suffering.

In this Gospel Jesus identifies himself as the Good Samaritan and we the victim.  He picks us up and washes us (Baptism), cleans our wounds (Reconciliation), feeds us (Eucharist), and takes us to a place to be cared for (The Church).  Jesus did not pass by on the opposite side.  You and I must, "Go and do likewise."

The man asked Jesus, "..what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus' answer was and is simple: Love God, Love Neighbor, Show Mercy.

Today, let us strive to avoid passing by on the opposite side.

Lord, give me the courage and grace to stay on the side of the road with my neighbor who is also a victim.  Help me to love him, care for him, and lead him closer to you!

FROM THE SAINTS
"This parable leaves no doubt about who our neighbor is - anyone (without distinction of race or relationship) who needs our help; nor about how we should love him - by taking pity on him, being compassionate towards his spiritual and corporal needs; and it is not just a matter of having the right feelings towards him; we must do something, me must generously serve him." - St. Luke Navarre Bible Commentary


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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
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