We are all prodigals at one time or in one way or another. We all fail along our walk to fulfill God’s intentions for us. We squander his gifts in great and small ways, and almost every day we ignore his teachings when we do not stop to help a neighbor. We are prodigals each time we do not enter the opportunity to be Good Samaritans.
Every day we are given opportunities to be the Good Samaritan – the one called to help heal the many wounded around us. The chances can be big, like caring for a dying person whom we’ve never met, or someone very close to us. Big like faithfully feeding and clothing widows and orphans and the poor under the bridges of our world, or taking time for regular visits to those in prison. We are given opportunities that may seem small to us but huge to those receiving the fruit of our obedience, like when we help someone in a wheel chair access higher shelves in the grocery store, or listen in earnest to a lonely widow who just needs to talk. When we volunteer to help at school cross walks or to help an over worked teacher in a classroom, or pick up the phone to check on a neighbor who is sick or just to say hello to a neighbor we hardly know. When we engage in conversation with the homeless person we pass on our way to work each day, helping to restore a sense of dignity to one who feels abandoned by society.
Jesus asked us to walk along the way with Him as He carried His cross – the cross he bore because he loves us. In all these chances to be Good Samaritans, we walk alongside someone as they carry their cross. And so, as He said, “Even as you did it for the least of these, you did it for me,” we are walking with Jesus.
The good news for us is that God in his great mercy – his hedessa – sets the moon as a night watch for us and raises the sun in the morning. The sun runs to us and embraces us in the warmth of forgiveness and we know our day of the prodigal is no more. Light greets us with a word, “Now, walk with my Son today. Be the Samaritan to those I place before you, walk the path I have set for you that will lead to your peace and eternal freedom.”
When we arise with the sun and take hold of the new day before us, letting go of the pride and self-centeredness of prodigals in order to walk with Jesus, we are an example to the world of the compassion, kindness, mercy and grace that is God. And we are part of His plan of love to change the world.