Extending the Boundaries of Compassion

Good Samaritan helping an injured person

By Fr. Patrick Raleigh

Luke 10: 25-37 is the deeply touching story of the Good Samaritan. He was considered as an outsider and yet he was moved with compassion for the person left for dead on the side of the road. 

Good Samaritan giving food to a homeless personAs we read the story it is worthwhile to look at and reflect on the powerful actions of this Samaritan person (a race despised by the religious leaders of the time). He bandaged the wounds of the dying man. He carried him to the inn and looked after his needs. He is the one that Jesus holds up as the neighbor in the kingdom of God. The Samaritan is the one who went beyond the limits of religion to extend the boundary of compassion. 

Being an outsider can be a very humiliating experience. I am sure that we have all experienced being outsiders at some stage in our lives. Jesus Himself was considered as an outsider and yet this did not deter Him from His mission of reaching out to those on the margins. He died so that everyone could have life in His name.

As we reflect on the story of the Good Samaritan let us remember all the Good Samaritans who have touched us on our journey of faith. I shall always be indebted to the many people of the Philippines and Pakistan and indeed Ireland who have touched me with their care, goodness and compassion. Many of them, like the Good Samaritan, would be considered as "outsiders."

Columban Fr. Patrick Raleigh provided this reflection.

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