The Good Samaritan, 21st Century Style

But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He 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.

Luke 10: 25-28

“Sir, can you help me?It’s cold and I have nowhere to sleep.”

Another Day in Paradise, Phil Collins

I rarely use contemporary music as part of my classes (as much as this is “contemporary”, being released in 1989). That said, I have used this song in a couple of sessions, including recently, in a class devoted to interpersonal communications and public speaking. My decision to use the song literally came to me in the final moments before class started. I wanted to continue the discussion on empathy, to solicit the students’ views on whether empathy can be “taught” in a classroom, or if empathy comes by example.

After playing the video, I explained the significance of the song (and some of the students even knew who Phil Collins is!), that it was released at a time when homelessness and despair had risen to a serious level. We had what I consider a wonderful exchange of ideas and concepts, capped by the “money quote” from a senior:

“It’s like football. You can read the playbook, but until you’re on the field, you can’t know if it’s the right thing to do.”

I stood there for a moment, looking at this young man. I was moved by his cogent and precise response.

How much has changed? We certainly have poverty and homelessness. We are overrun by illegal drugs (and the consequences of using legal substances). Relationships are tested or rendered nonexistent by “ghosting.”

For years, Benedictine College students have had their eyes open to the needs of the homeless through the organization “Christ in the City” (pictured above). The organization is guided by words of Mother Teresa: “Many people talk about the homeless. Few talk to them” and they make it a point to meet homeless people and learn their names and learn their stories.

Given the descent into individualism at the expense of others (and there is plenty of “blame” to go around for this issue) our “Samaritan” outreach to all in our circle is paramount. We are directed by Our Lord to render aid, however that might look.

Perhaps those who are hurting, whatever the circumstances, can be nurtured and cared for to allow them to heal in mind and body, and have their moment of “paradise” today.

Image: Christ in the City Facebook.

Michael Throop