This past Sunday's Liturgy, we heard the story of the Good Samaritan - the man who stopped on the road to help a victim of robbers when everyone else just passed by. Lori and I went to St. Clements so Fr. Peter gave the homily. I really admire the way that Fr. Peter just strips away all of the extraneous information and comes straight to the point in his homilies. This one was no different.
Fr. Peter began by relating a complement that he had received from a person in the neighborhood about why he is such a good gardener. The person said that Fr. Peter was a good gardener because he looked at his plants. He looked at them to know if they needed water or had too much. He looked at them to know if the soil was too hard or too soft. He looked at them to know if they had too much sun or not enough. Only by looking at his plants could he find out what they needed and fix it.
Now the point of the Good Samaritan, according to Fr. Peter, is that probably only the Good Samaritan bothered to look at the robber's victim. The other travelers on the road probably did not stop because they simply did not take the time to look at the victim. Since they did not take the time to look at him, they could not feel sympathy or compassion for him and thus it did not even occur to them to stop and help. Only the Good Samaritan bothered to look.
Living in the city, I think that this message really hits home for me. How often do I just blow by panhandlers on the sidewalk because I just do not take the time to look at them? How callus do we become when we do not take the time to look at our neighbor?