The Samaritan, from Jericho to St. Paul
Publish date 07-12-2022
Talking about the Good Samaritan in a house that welcomes 1,200 people every day could be a bit rhetorical. Among the many stories that have passed through this house, who knows how many have already found themselves in this same situation several times in their lives: of being on the road, perhaps injured and alone... And who knows how many – at least once in their life – have been robbed while on the road, how many have seen a man lying on a sidewalk and passed by, perhaps with a little rush. How many have there been that man on the street, even if only for one night, a week or a few years.
But one of the greatest and most important aspects of the Word of God is that it is creative, that is, that it forms and gives life to things over the years: it generates different thoughts and ideas in different people, it arouses suggestions, desires, intuitions. The Word of God is alive in my life to the extent that I frequent it, I let it speak in me, day by day. Precisely for this reason it is not necessary to sleep a night on the sidewalk, to have been robbed or to be a Samaritan, to understand the characters in this parable. Each of these people speaks to our heart.
We are all on that path. The road of our life, with its ups and downs, laden with our most precious possessions or laden with our evils, without stopping, we move forward, with the hope of the final destination, a little deserved rest, but we are not alone on this Street.
We all have bad things that attack us, that rob us, that take away not only our material goods, such as money, a purse, a mobile phone, but that also take away a lot of our humanity, of what ultimately has more value. There are people who take away our time, our hopes, our affections, people who take away our dignity… and we find ourselves on the ground.
We have all experienced the weight of a severe look, of a reproach. We all know well the face of those who look at us with contempt, of those who are disgusted by us, of those who are afraid. We recognize the great wounds in the soul that bad words can cause, words whispered or said in secret, words spoken without knowing the story, without knowing the truth.
On the other hand, we too have been good Samaritans, when we have bent down to pick someone up, pick up a child, help an elderly person to walk, when we have healed an important wound with a kind word, with prayer or with a silence filled with understanding.
Mobbed or brigands, priests, Levites, Samaritans and innkeepers… we are all here, on this street, Rua Almeida Lima 900, Mooca, in the center of São Paulo, where there are people queuing up for entering the Arsenale, people sleeping on the floor or eating on a mattress. Meanwhile, hundreds of young minds from the university, our neighbor, are walking fast to get home, with their minds busy and - perhaps - with their hearts to warm.
This Gospel touches us because it speaks of us, of our path. A living Word, today, for us. The Good Samaritans.
NP August / September 2022