Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Who is my neighbor?
In the liturgical calendar for October 6, 2014, the Gospel reading was that of The Good Samaritan. I recalled that I had once written a reflection on this Scripture from the Inn Keeper’s point of view. I post it here for your reflection. I invite you to consider “stepping into the parable” and writing your own reflection. Blessings!
Shalom to you!
I am the owner and manager of this establishment which some would like to call an inn. It seems to be the only place on this rugged stretch of road between Jerusalem and Jericho. I see a lot of strange happenings along these heavily traveled paths, for it is a major trade route. One has to be vigilant on these roads, especially when the band of robbers surprise unsuspecting victims.
I am often fortunate to encounter a number of travelers who are merchants, pilgrims, temple elders, and foreigners from nearby provinces who are looking for work. I know that some are not of my faith, but my wife says I need to be open and offer hospitality to anyone who seeks refuge from the desert sun, or needs rest from walking the dirt roads, and who may be on pilgrimage for atonement of sins long ago. I have a young new family and the extra money is essential for me so I can feed and clothe my family, besides paying taxes to the governor!
I learned a lot from my father when he was an innkeeper in Bethlehem. When I was a child, he often told me stories of the people who came to his establishment. He always enjoyed telling one story in particular of a young pregnant woman, who traveled with a man with strong hands and an anxious heart. Since this was the time of the census, they sought a place to stay with their relatives, but no one would make room for this unwed mother to be. It was my father who gave them a place to stay.
So I now encounter this Samaritan man – I can tell by his accent and the way he is dressed. He is carrying someone on his donkey and is heading here to my desk. We are a simple establishment. No magnetic swipe, cards, no room service (unless there is money to accompany the request) and no extra sets of clean towels. This tall, quite burly Samaritan says that he found this Jew along the roadside, beaten and left half dead. Apparently this man encountered those robbers that I spoke of earlier. The Samaritan requested a room for him to care for this injured man. I accommodated and even gave him those extra towels with no charge – my wife said that would be the compassionate thing to do. Early the next morning, the Samaritan hands me money, two days wages, and wants me to give the injured man further care with a bed, food, and healing oils. I agree to do so immediately. I guess it was his eyes, his gentle voice, and his deep concern for this traveler. He didn’t even know his name. He said that he would return in a few days and pay me with more money if what he had given me was not enough.
He then turned, started to walk out the door, but turned and spoke a blessing to me and my family. I wondered if he was a follower of the man from Galilee whom they call Jesus. This Samaritan man was so compassionate toward this traveler, a Jew. When he returns, I will ask him where I can find this Jesus.
~ Based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan ~ Luke 10:25-37