THINKING AND LIVING OUTSIDE THE BOX
What a scandal!! How could Jesus raise up a Samaritan and make him the hero of the story!
This week’s gospel story of the good Samaritan is familiar to all of us. It is also particularly timely as we begin to consider the many opportunities before us through Beacons of Light. Our challenge is to be aware of and avoid the snares of apathy or self-righteousness that are reflected in the story.
The first to come across the victim is a priest. The primary role of priests of the Old Testament was to act as a witness to the nations of the one, true living God (Isaiah 43:10). It meant that they were given access to God’s presence in the tabernacle. There, they performed the duties of atonement through sacrifice, worship, and prayer. If anyone should have stopped to help the unfortunate traveler it should have been the priest.
Levites maintained the Temple and worked closely with the priests. They acted as teachers and judges and so, were well educated in the law. Like the priests, they too should have been setting an example of how to live the covenant. In the end, those we would default to as the people who should do the right thing were exactly the ones who failed to do anything. It was a Samaritan who stepped up and cared for the stranger far beyond anything required.
As we begin the process of Beacons of Light we all find ourselves in a very similar situation. How many aspects of parish life do we find ourselves assuming it is up to the priests or the staff to take care of? How quickly do we fall back on the excuse that, “I’m too busy to volunteer or get involved in any way”? While both of these have some validity, they can easily be used to give ourselves permission to do nothing, just as the priest and Levite did nothing.
The Samaritan had no obligation to help, yet he saw a need and responded. This is our invitation as we move forward in the coming months, awareness of what is happening and what is needed, openness to consider new ways of being and acting as a Family of Parishes, willingness to be part of the future, and courage not to cling to the familiarity of “what has always been”.
Incarnation is an amazing parish filled with people who love Jesus and who desire to be people of the Kingdom. Let us redouble our effort to be the best we can be, to move ahead with energy and commitment, and to constantly seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we become the beacon of light we are meant to be.