Entrance into eternal life requires not only that we love God
but that we also love others.
I am confident in saying that the “others” we are to love
are not restricted to the classification of “neighbor”.
For we are to love strangers as well as neighbors,
non-believers as well as believers.
We are called to love those who are loved by God…
and that’s everyone.
The Samaritan provides an example of how love can be expressed:
by showing mercy,
by getting our hands dirty,
by being willing to change our plans,
by taking responsibility,
by going the extra mile,
by seeing things through to the end.
Love cannot be separated from mercy.
Those who claim to love and yet fail to show mercy
do not understand what Jesus reveals love to be
especially through his death on the cross.
Who should I love today
and how shall I show this love?
Who should be the object of my love today?
Who should stir my heart to compassion?
The person who crosses my path and is in need of mercy.
The person that others have shunned, have avoided, have neglected.
The person who is a victim, who is wounded.
The person who cannot care for him/herself.
The person who has mistreated me in the past
and is now in need of help.
The person who cannot pay me back.
The person who doesn’t even know my name.
Lest we become overwhelmed by the demands of such love,
I would venture to say there were other victims on that road to Jericho,
other people in need of mercy,
but the Samaritan chose to help this one.
Let us imitate the conduct of the good Samaritan.
“Help us, O Lord, to love you above all things
and to love our neighbor as ourselves.”