Last October, Pope Francis published his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.” At its heart, the letter reminds us that every person is created in the image a
nd likeness of God with a divine dignity that must be respected. We are all part of the same human family — brothers and sisters called to love one another. This call extends especially to how we treat the poor and vulnerable, the stranger and others on the peripheries of our society and the Church.
In the letter, the Holy Father offers an extended reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s a simple story with a challenging lesson: A man is walking along a road from Jerusalem to Jericho is attacked by robbers, who beat him and leave him half dead. A priest comes along, sees him but keeps walking. A Levite likewise sees him and passes by. It’s a Samaritan — someone who would have been considered the man’s enemy — who is moved with compassion, stopping to tend to the man’s wounds.
Which of these three was a neighbor to the victim? Jesus asks. The answer, of course, is the Samaritan — the one who sacrificed his time and resources. Then, Jesus commands the man listening to his parable, as well as us listening to it today, to “go and do likewise.”
The pope’s reflection got us thinking at The Central Minnesota Catholic about today’s Good Samaritans — those who consistently put the needs of others ahead of their own, who show love and mercy to the abandoned and excluded, who build bridges instead of burning them, and who foster peace and healing in their communities.
These modern-day Good Samaritans are models of discipleship that we should all strive to emulate. So, this year, in each edition of the magazine, we’re featuring the story of a Good Samaritan in our diocese. You can read this month’s profile here.
We want your suggestions about whom to feature in upcoming issues. If you know someone in your parish or community whose life and/or ministry will inspire others to “go and do likewise,” please contact associate editor Kristi Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-258-7630.
“Jesus trusts in the best of the human spirit; with this parable, he encourages us to persevere in love, to restore dignity to the suffering and to build a society worthy of the name,” Pope Francis wrote. Let’s all reflect on how we can be more like the Good Samaritan on our journey of faith.
Joe Towalski is the editor and the director of communications for the Diocese of St Cloud.