In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
“He passed by on the other side.” Is there a sadder statement anywhere? Someone is in trouble and we ignore it. Someone is in need and we do nothing. I understand we are not all first responders and some situations are beyond our personal means to resolve, but to do nothing is to reject our responsibility to each other and to God.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta was revered for her ministry with the poor, doing work personally and encouraging others to support her efforts. She once said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one”. She teaches us that when we look at a huge problem we are often overwhelmed and think we can never solve it. Instead, we should choose an action we can accomplish, becoming part of the solution.
Bishop Desmond Tutu said “There comes a point when we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream to find out why they’re falling in.” There are systemic problems in our world that need our collective attention, but we must not stop helping individuals while we analyze. Jesus taught us that our gifts can be used right where we are in the situations we face everyday. Use what God has given you to love your neighbor and show your love for God.
Gracious God, we are all called to be part of Your work, sharing Your love with a broken world. Give us courage and strength to go to our neighbors, and never pass by on the other side. Amen.