How many times have I passed by on the other side when I see my brothers and sisters laying beaten and bruised with their wounds open before me? I’d like to think of myself as a Good Samaritan, but my track record shows me to be more like the Priest and the Levite.
I see the lonely person at church, the employee at the checkout counter, the name of a chatty acquaintance display on my caller ID, and even though I know what isolation and the desire for human contact feel like, I pass by on the other side. I tell myself I don’t have the time, there’s too much to do to spare the few minutes it would take to give a friendly smile or lend a listening ear.
I see one friend who is grieving a loss, another who is facing a health crisis, and I pass by on the other side. What if I say the wrong thing? What if this triggers my own heartache? I am uncomfortable with the vulnerability and intimacy that entering into another’s pain would require.
I have seen the panhandler on the side of the road, the confused immigrant at the doctor’s office, and the dirty housing project less than a mile from my own home, and I pass by on the other side. Honestly, sometimes I’m just annoyed, and I convince myself they’re not my problem.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) I spend so much energy agonizing over what it is the Lord wants me to do, as though it were something “too mysterious and remote” (Deuteronomy 30:11). When really the answer is so simple: “it is something very near you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out” (Deuteronomy 30:14).
Love Jesus and everyone else. The rest is just details.
Already familiar with the Corporal Works of Mercy? See our new study on them examining how lay women Saints lived them out, and inspiring reflections on how we can, too.
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic Faith. She is a classically trained pianist who, after teaching for ten years now stays home with her three young children. but still manages to flex her creative muscles through writing, knitting, and gardening. She is proud to call Saint Paul home and loves everything about living in Minnesota, except for winter. You can find out more about her here.