“Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” - Luke 10:36-37
Here we have the conclusion to the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. First, robbers beat him and left him for dead. Then a priest walked by and ignored him. And then a Levite walked by also ignoring him. Finally, the Samaritan walked by and took care of him with great generosity.
Interestingly, when Jesus asked the disciples which of these three acted as a neighbor, they didn’t respond “the Samaritan.” Rather, they responded, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Mercy was the key focus.
It is so easy to be judgmental and harsh with one another. If you read the newspapers or listen to the news commentators you can’t help but hear continual judgment and condemnation. Our fallen human nature seems to thrive on being critical of others. And when we are not critical, we are often tempted to act like the priest and Levite in this story. We are tempted to turn a blind eye to those in need. The key must be to always show mercy and show it in superabundance.
Reflect, today, upon the call God gives you to show mercy. Mercy, in order to be true mercy, must hurt. It must “hurt” in the sense that it requires you to let go of your pride, selfishness and anger and choose to show love instead. You choose to show love to the point that it hurts. But that hurt is a true source of healing in that it cleanses you of your sin. Saint Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Mercy is the kind of love that may hurt at first, but in the end leaves only love.
Lord, do make me an instrument of Your love and mercy. Help me to especially show mercy when it is hard in life and when I do not feel like it. May those moments be graced moments when You transform me into Your gift of love. Jesus, I trust in You.