“What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?” Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
When I was a girl my father on several occasions asked me to go with him to his clinic on a weekend afternoon to assist him with a patient who had sustained a cut that needed to be sutured, or a fishhook that needed to be extracted.As the only doctor in our county during my early childhood, he worked at the hours when his patients needed him.I recall my own inner struggle with the impulse to look away from the wounds, to avoid eye contact with the suffering patient who might be holding back their own tears. But most vividly, I realize that my father was cultivating my capacity for compassion: getting past the fear or revulsion about another person’s suffering or injury, moving into a helpful form of assistance that would promote healing, and leading me to meet Jesus Christ—the one my father had decided to serve long before he trained as a physician.
The suffering of Jesus as he was tried, abused and executed was difficult for his disciples and his followers to confront. We see several responses, from hiding to standing by in anguish. We are called to follow Jesus into the suffering of our own journeys and to be present in love to the suffering of others. By not looking away, we grow the courage to address the suffering of our own neighbors in this world.
Together, all of us who follow Jesus are invited to behold His suffering in the events of Holy Week. We are invited to resist looking away, and then, beyond horror or curiosity, we are invited to behold with love and hope the suffering in our own families, communities and global human family.Where have you and I recently been tempted “to look away” or to escape from the wounds of our neighbors? As we follow this invitation of Jesus, let us pray that we will share in the resurrection power of new life and hope, as we bring the transforming presence of Christ into every situation.Prayer: Jesus, where can I behold you in the world I inhabit? Give me courage to love and serve you with compassion. In Your grace. AMEN.
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REFLECTIONS FOR THE DAY | Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…
READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?