THE GOOD SAMARITAN
An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
You probably know the story. Jesus relates that a man on the way to Jericho was attacked by thieves and left injured and dying. A priest and a Levite saw him and ignored him. But a Samaritan took pity on him, helped him as best he could and took him to an inn to be looked after.
So, how does this relate to modern times? Let’s roll the years forwards to the 21st Century.
Here is something that happened to me some years ago.
I used to work in London and travelled there by train every day. One evening I was returning home at about 6.00pm and went to Victoria Underground Tube station to travel on to my railway station and home.
There on the ground, sitting by the wall, was a man in a dark suit holding a briefcase and with his head hunched down forward on his chest. He was motionless. People were passing him by and ignoring him.
I approached him to see if I could help. He raised his head revealing a white clerical collar round his neck. You can imagine my surprise to find our elderly priest from back home. What are the chances of that happening in busy London?
He mumbled that he had been to a meeting nearby and on his way home he felt faint and fell to the ground.
My first instincts were to phone an ambulance. He refused point blank. He said he had to go home because he was officiating at a funeral the next day.
I got him to stand up. We slowly made our way out of the tube station and we took a taxi to the railway station; and from there we took a train home.
A couple of hours or so later I delivered him to his church where the other priest and the housekeeper were very worried because they had not heard from him for hours. They were about to report him missing to the police.
Whenever I think back to that event I feel upset that no one bothered to stop and help him. He wasn't dressed in poor dirty clothing and likely to be mistaken for a beggar or a homeless drunk. He was in a business suit and yet no one cared enough to stop. What chances have beggars of any help from the rest of society?
EXCERPT FROM 21st CENTURY PARABLES ($3.83)