Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I help lead a program where students share food and spend time in conversation with the homeless on Sunday nights. This program, called the Saint Benedict Joseph Labré Ministry to the Homeless, has now run for 720 consecutive Sunday nights. In fact, it’s popular enough that students have to sign up to participate.
We are fortunate that being Samaritans through this program is the norm here on campus. But our churches and schools that so often practice the works of mercy cannot be the only avenues that nudge us toward showing mercy to those in need. Our challenge is to make mercy something we practice in every situation and at all times. What is one way I can serve outside of mcomfort zone today?
—Connor Walters is a communications coordinator at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH. He also coaches rowing and co-moderates the school’s Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless.
Hear our prayer today for all women and men, boys and girls who are homeless this day.
For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations.
For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime.
For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent.
For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.
For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are.
For those who are afraid and hopeless.
For those who have been betrayed by our social safety net.
For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.
We pray for those of us with warm houses and comfortable beds
that we not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.
Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every homeless person we meet
so that we may be empowered through word and deed,
and through the political means we have
to bring justice and peace to those who are homeless. Amen.
— Leadinginworship, a mennonite prayer resource