It was a matter of religious zeal for Jews to shun Samaritans whose ancestors practiced a religion that was opposed to Jewish law. So for Jesus, himself a teacher of Jewish law, to make a Samaritan the hero of a parable on helping one’s neighbor must have been a great shock to the people gathered around him! Here was Jesus telling the Jews that their religious duty should not take precedence over God’s commandment which is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Two thousand years later, are there still people who value religious duty over loving our neighbors?
As a people with a long Christian tradition, we Filipinos take pride in our Catholic devotion. As a result, we have developed a strong moral culture that knows right from wrong. But such devoutness can also create in us an unforgiving spirit.
It’s time to ask ourselves: do we value condemnation over compassion? Do we seek punishment instead of mercy? Let us look for those people we despise, those we hate, those whom we feel deserve to be punished, and let us love them as much as we love ourselves.