From this weekend’s bulletin at St. Joseph Parish in Phoenix:

One of the students in a college where I used to teach in the Philippines got hit by a car. At best the odds for his survival were 50/50.

The doctors in the provincial hospital were going to operate on him. It would be a very delicate operation, much blood would be needed. The local hospital did not have enough supply. Time was running out.

A friend of the victim came upon the idea of soliciting from fellow students to donate blood. He posted a note with the dean’s approval on the school bulletin board although he was less than hopeful of the response.

Later as he checked the result with the office of the dean of students’ affairs, he was amazed of the sight that greeted him. A good number of students, including faculty members, queued up willing and ready to donate the life-giving fluid for the student victim.

He and those who responded to donate blood to an accident victim whom they never knew personally are the modern-day counterparts of the Good Samaritan in Christ’s parable (Lk.10:25-37). The parable teaches that EVERYONE in need is our neighbor, not just the people we live with, not just the people who are near and dear to us.

The message is CLEAR: there are no limits as to whom the law of love must be applied. A neighbor is not simply one who lives next door or in our town or country. A neighbor is not of geography but of the heart. In this year of mercy, one whom we come across on the road when we travel, who is need of money, food and clothing is also our neighbor in this modern time.

Moreover, to the all important question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ stresses here that it is not enough to acknowledge him as our personal Savior as some Christians, like the Born Again preached or it is not enough to fulfill our Sunday Mass obligation or even visit our adoration chapel for many hours, we still need to do good works and be kind to our neighbors. We must practice the truth that we learn from the Gospel. We must apply the example of the GOOD SAMARITAN.

“Go then and Do likewise” (Lk.10:37) Thus Jesus concludes the parable.

Fr. Reggie, who signs his bulletin letters, “Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,” is starting his annual vacation to the Philippines. Keep him in prayer as he travels to celebrate his earthly mother’s 95th birthday.

Further reflection

Jeff Hedglen from Catholic News Service also offers a reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel. He called it “one of the most challenging messages in the whole Bible.”

Jesus used a person all Jews of the day despised to define “neighbor,” Hedglen wrote. Jews were not to associate with Samaritans, so to use this person as the example of mercy would have seemed quite outlandish.

He encouraged modern-day Christians to “think of the people or groups you find it hard to like, even people who have totally different viewpoints, morals, faith and country of origin than you do. These are our Samaritans; these are our neighbors.”

“We all have people in our lives that irk us far past what is holy. It is these people that Jesus says are our neighbors. It is these people we are to love. Pope Francis has trumpeted this message from Jesus that we are to go beyond our comfort zone and love these neighbors. Depending on the situation, this may not even be simple, let alone easy.

Yet Jesus calls us to do it all the same. His exact words are, ‘Go and do likewise.’ We are to go and be merciful and loving to everyone we meet, even those we do not like.”

Is there a person or a segment of society that you find hard to love? What can you do to show mercy to these people?