Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Parable/Gospel of the Good Samaritan is probably the most well-know of the Jesus Stories.  With one simple story, Jesus calls us to “notice one another.”  To see who needs us.  Obviously the challenge is to “do what we know is right, is good, is godly.”

Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal Priest, tells of a time when she was preparing a sermon on today’s Gospel.  As she drove to work, she mulled over it in her head.  Suddenly, she came upon a car along the road:

As I approached, a tall man stepped into the road, holding a pair of jumper cables and looking me straight in the eye.  Several hundred pieces of information went through my mind in about three seconds, the man needs help — you are a single woman alone in a car — the man needs help — never open your door to a stranger — go to the nearest service station and send a mechanic — the man needs help — what if the man cannot afford a mechanic? — the man needs help — I am sorry, I cannot help — maybe the next person will.  And I drove on to work, to complete my research on the Good Samaritan.

Barbara Brown Taylor describes the frustration many of us feel because of the gap between knowing what we should be doing and doing it.  Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor says:

Just maybe after all the arguments are made and all the issues are debated, it comes down to one thing — just do it.  Love God, love neighbor, be a neighbor.  If we want the world to be different, to be better, do some love…  Do a little, do a lot, but do some!

We live it interesting times, maybe even confusing times, maybe troubling times.  In recent months and weeks and days, we have lived through a variety of violent acts that have taken the lives of not just our neighbors but our family.  A family that lives in Baltimore, Orlando, and Dallas to name a few places.

The Story of Jesus as to “who is my neighbor” is his way of asking us to answer the question, “are we a neighbor or do we need to be a neighbor?”

For Jesus, you and I must be neighbor to those we encounter each day.  Jesus, says not only to the know it all Scholar of the Law, but to each of us, “Go and do likewise.”

May our prayer today lead us to be neighbors who treat others with mercy, with kindness, with respect, with a love of God and others, that is evident to us and in others, more and more each day.

To quote Moses, from our First Reading, “You know what the Lord God asks of you.  It is already in your mouth and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”