Meditation Monday – July 12, 2021

The story of “The Good Samaritan” (in Luke 10:25 – 37), and “The Parable of the Prodigal” and his brother (in Luke 15: 11 – 32) are some of the most well-known parables of Jesus. The challenge with this is, that when we are super familiar with certain Bible stories, we can miss a deeper encounter with their message. We “already know” what they mean.

When taking a closer look at these two parables, I find that they are not just about helping those we have learned to distrust or have been in bitter conflict with. They both speak to the importance of putting ourselves in the skin of those who are half-dead and destitute; those unable to help themselves.

I think Saint Augustine nailed it when he said: “What does love look like? It has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.”

That is what love looks like!

If we stop there, however we miss a deeper encounter with the message of these texts. An even closer look reveals that we are not just “the helpers”, but also the destitute. Sometimes we need to swallow our own spiritual pride and allow others to help us find the way back to God when we feel estranged. Sometimes we even need to permit those people to whom we are not naturally attracted to, to help us.

So, Augustine, please forgive me for turning what you said in a different direction. (I would never claim to be the saint that you are), but here is what I am thinking:

“What does God’s love look like? It has an open hand, ready to help lead, and rescue us. It has feet that hasten to walk alongside us through the ups and downs of life. It listens with compassion to all our spoken and unspoken sighs and sorrows. God’s love looks like Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb three days later.”