Essential Goodness of Human Beings

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presents three philosophies of life concerning our relationship with our neighbor:

1) The philosophy of the thieves who robbed the Jewish traveler - Lust: "What is yours is mine; I will take it by force."

2) The philosophy of life of the Jewish priest and the Levite - Legalism: "What is mine is mine; I won't part with it."

3) The philosophy of the Samaritan - Love: "What is mine is yours as well. I shall share it with you." The Samaritan was generous enough to see the wounded Jew as a neighbor. He ignored the long history of enmity between his people and the Jews.

Good_SamariitanA family was driving cross-country in Alaska in their motor-home when the axle of their vehicle broke and could not be easily fixed. They were in the middle of nowhere. So the father left his family in the motor-home and began to walk in search of help. To his good luck, he came upon an isolated farm house. He knocked and a very friendly farmer responded. When he learned of the man's distress, the farmer just patted him on the shoulder and said he could help. Without wasting a minute, he got into his tractor, drove out and towed the motorhome to his yard. And then, in a very short while, he used his welder and fixed the problem.

The family was extremely relieved and grateful. Taking out his wallet, the father of the family offered to pay, but the farmer would have none of it. "It was my pleasure" was all he said. "As you can see, I live in isolation and often do not see anybody for weeks and even months. You have given me the pleasure of your company for the last two hours. That is more than adequate compensation." The family was greatly impressed to encounter such noble and selfless generosity. It certainly enhanced their belief in the essential goodness of human beings.

The farm house owner became a neighbor (in the Gospel sense) to that family who came in search of help. When strangers become neighbors the essential goodness of human beings is revealed. This is what is required in today’s society.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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St. Bernadette Catholic Church