Today November 15th, we hear in Church the Gospel for the 8th Sunday of Luke, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which falls usually just at the beginning of the Nativity Fast (Advent).
Life in our time has become too fast, too impersonal, too busy, too big, for people to help each other, whether in emergency or day-to-day cases. However, there are examples to show that every age has those who respond to cases of suffering and need and those who are indifferent to the hurts and pains of others.
This is evident even in first century Palestine where a mortally wounded Jew could be passed over, by a Jewish priest or Levite, yet helped by a Samaritan who was a supposed enemy.
Mercy or indifference are not so much a matter of particular age or culture, but a matter of the individual heart. You see the Samaritan showed mercy and compassion to the dying Jew. The Greek word for mercy is eleos, which primarily is not a feeling but an act, showing faithfulness, grace, kindness and love.
Jesus quoted a prophetic saying to the Pharisees, “I want mercy, not sacrifice, (Matthew 12:7), and he instructed his followers, “Be merciful just as your Father(in heaven), is merciful”. (Luke 6:36). St. Isaac the Syrian defined a merciful heart as a heart burning with love for all creation, human beings, animals, birds, even devils, a heart which cannot bear injury or anything hurtful in creation without shedding burning tears of love!
So as we begin the time of preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, let us do as Our Lord commanded us, to love God and to love our neighbor, for this is the essence of our Christian faith.
May God bless and keep each of you, your families, your friends and all creation.