Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Luke 10: 25 – 37, Matthew 25: 31 – 46
The Good Samaritan story is one that has been read over the ages by Christians and the more it is told the more we take its meaning for granted. It is only in times when we are in dire situations in life that we ponder on when the Good Samaritan would come around.
The world we now live in is falling apart with its multifaceted problems ranging from impacts of climate change and rising sea-levels, the increasing rate of crimes and corruption in societies, communities, governments, churches, and even within family units, the food insecurity, increasing rate of unemployment and poverty, to the problems of war – all creating the feeling of chaos, hopelessness, uncertainty and desolation. These are all human-induced problems that are generated from our own human greed and arrogance!
As a result, many individuals, families and communities have fallen victims that even Christians also ponder on when the Good Samaritan should intervene!
The Priest as well as the Levite in this parable walked by the half-dead man but yet did not ‘see’ they have a part to save the man beside the road. The Good Samaritan on the other hand “saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”
In Kiribati and the world today, there are so many broken homes with unemployed mothers struggling to feed their families, rate of alcoholism and homelessness increasing to alarming levels, violence against women remains on the rise yet our Churches today, like the Priest and the Levite, do not see these as their core responsibilities. Our churches’ active programmes today are more geared towards embracing the existing members as its prime goal but with little reach out to women and children stricken by bullying men, those trapped in alcoholism, and broken families, and many other broken souls. These are the victims lying beside the road of our Christian journey everyday – so visible yet unseen – crying in agony yet unheard of. But the Jesus we believe in never did walk past injustice without making it right. Jesus never walked past suffering without soothing it with compassion. Jesus never walked past an empty heart without filling it (Matt.25:42-44).
While you and I aren’t Jesus nor a Good Samaritan, He expects us to do the same within our own capabilities and with His help.
-Betarim Rimon, Kiribati Uniting Church
Lord please help me open my eyes and ears to see and hear the pains of the stricken people around me and the power to help restore and help them – guiding them to your loving embrace and salvation. May my act of reaching out show your light to the victims and transformation love to the oppressors. In Jesus’ name I pray.