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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, July 14, 2013

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

July 14, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36-37

2) Colossians 1:15-20

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

About 20 years ago, when my husband was training to become an emergency medical technician, he told me about "good Samaritan" laws; I had never heard of them before. Many states have enacted such legislation that protects from frivolous lawsuits a person who renders CPR or other medical aid. Thus, a compassionate individual need not hesitate to help in an emergency because he or she could be the subject of a lawsuit if the victim did not recover.

As today's Gospel illustrates, there are other reasons why a person might not render aid besides fear of a lawsuit. In the biblical good Samaritan story, neither the priest nor the Levite stopped to help; in fact, they crossed to the other side of the road. They believed touching a dead body would render them ritually unclean, and they didn't want to take any chances. Their avoidance indicated that they were thinking more about themselves than about the plight of the victim.

Sometimes there are more subtle or insidious reasons why we don't follow our compassionate instincts. I almost chose not to be with a very good friend at the moment of her husband's death because I reasoned that she had plenty of family members present and that I would simply be in the way. I let false assumptions and misguided thoughts of propriety override my concern. Fortunately, I stopped second-guessing myself and rushed to be with her, which turned out to be the right thing to do.

At other times, we might neglect to do a good deed because we're not paying close attention. We get preoccupied with our own concerns and ignore those little nudges of conscience or fail to recognize the impulses of the Holy Spirit -- perhaps waiting for a more conspicuous signal before acting? -- and we lose an opportunity to show kindness.

The Samaritan of Luke's Gospel was "moved with compassion" enough to put aside any concerns about social impropriety, monetary expense or personal inconvenience. He simply took action. It's what a good "neighbor" does.


Have you ever second-guessed your instinct to do good for someone or neglected to show compassion because you weren't attentive to another person's needs?


"It is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out." -- Deuteronomy 30:14


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