A central teaching of Scripture is that we are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and also that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” Jesus teaches that our “neighbors” include those who are culturally different from ourselves and those who are looked down upon by dominant society. This story is told in Luke 10: 25-37: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2010:25-37&version=NIV
What if Jesus were to have told this parable in 21st century America? Who would be the unloving religious leaders in the story and who would be the “Samaritan”? Imagine with me that Jesus is telling this parable, today, in Arizona…
25 On one occasion a seminary professor stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Phoenix to Tucson, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A pastor of a “mega church” happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 So too, a church elder, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But an undocumented immigrant, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. Then he put the man in his own gardening truck, brought him to a motel and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out $128 (two days worth of day laborer wages) and gave them to the hotel manager. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The seminary professor replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
May we go and do likewise. May we fall in love with Jesus more and more each day. May we learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan, and grow in loving those we believe to be most unlike ourselves.
Growing in loving,
Robert Chao Romero
P.S., please stay tuned in January for a 40-day series on the topic of undocumented immigration. Join me then for the 40-Day “I Was A Stranger Challenge”: http://evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/
Spread the word to your friends and networks!
Also, this contemporary version of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was inspired by “The Cotton Patch Gospel.” In case you’d like to check out this “colloquial translation of the New Testament with a Southern accent”: http://rockhay.tripod.com/cottonpatch/