Sunday, July 11, 2010

The not-so-good Samaritan

Nowhere in today's Gospel is the Samaritan described as good. This is something implied by his actions. I had my own opportunity to be a good neighbor on Monday, and I blew it.

My husband insists on buying his gas at a station that is in a not-so-nice area. We are often swarmed by people begging to pump gas for some change or who are simply asking for a handout.

Sure enough, I heard a high-pitched voice ask him for something and his response of "sorry Man." However, the man was actually a woman, and a decrepit one at that.
"I'm hunnnnnnngry," I heard her whine. When I looked at her, she was filthy and she appeared to be missing an eye. She was dressed way too warm for the 95 degree heat.
My husband finished fueling and got in the car. I asked him if he thought we should give her something but he pointed out two other groups of people who were begging and he thought it was better to just leave. However, that image haunted me all day and night. The next morning, I took a walk to the gas station, but the woman was nowhere in sight. I prayed she wasn't dead because I would be doubly eaten with guilt.

The day after, I was taking a walk in the area of the gas station when I heard that same high-pitched voice. "Sweeeeetheart, you have a little something for me? I'm hunnnnngry".

Thank you Jesus! Another opportunity to make up for the one I missed. OK, for all I know, she did go out and spend the few bucks I gave her on booze or drugs, but like the woman I wanted to judge because of her skimpy clothing, it's not my place to make those kind of assumptions. The next time I might not be so lucky to have a second chance to offer someone a little bit of relief on a scorching summer's day.

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