Children's Reading: Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
Joanie and Her Mom Get A Little Help
Has a stranger ever helped you when you really needed it? What happened?
Suddenly, a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I have to do so I can receive eternal life?" the lawyer asked.
"What's written in God's Law?" Jesus shot back. "How do you understand it?"
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul, all your strength and all you mind. Love your neighbor as yourself," the lawyer answered.
"Correct!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live forever."
But, the lawyer wanted to win the argument. So, he asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"
Jesus took up the challenge with a parable. "Once, there was a man who went down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho," Jesus began. "Robbers jumped the man, stripped his clothes off, beat him severely, and left him for dead. By luck, a priest went down the same road. But when he saw the half-dead man, he passed by on the other side of the road. Next, a Levite came on the scene, saw what happened, and also passed by on the other side. Then, a Samaritan traveling along the road saw the man and felt sorry for him. The Samaritan cleaned and bound the man's wounds, set the man on his mule, and took him to an inn to take care of him. The next day, the Samaritan took some money out of his wallet and gave it to the innkeeper. 'Take care of him,' the Samaritan told the innkeeper. 'When I return, I will repay you whatever you spend beyond this.' Which of these three men treated the robbed man like a neighbor?"
"The man who was merciful," replied the lawyer.
"Go the same way. Do acts of mercy," Jesus told him.
Joanie and her mother were driving home from a very successful soccer tournament. Joanie scored three goals and had five assists. Her team came in second place. The mood in her minivan was joyful but quiet. Joanie and her mother had said everything they wanted to say. Both sat lost in their thoughts of the day.
The clouds began to gather as the sun set over the mountains. The rain drops began to fall. A few here, a few there. Soon the drops became a steady downpour. Joanie's mother put on the wind shield wipers. As sky grew darker, Joanie saw fewer and fewer cars on the road. After a while, the only things Joanie could see on the road were light by the minivan's front headlights. The road reflected from the rain that made the pavement wet.
Suddenly, the van lurched as the motor died. The front lights dimmed. Joanie's mother groans with a note of panic in her voice, as she steered the vehicle to the side of the road. The minivan rolled to a stop. Then, her mother tried to restart the motor, but to no avail. Her mother sighed as she drooped her head over the steering wheel. Joanie breathed in her mother's panic. The memories of the victorious day were replaced by thoughts of helplessness. What would they do next? Both Joanie and her mother seemed to share the same thought.
It seemed like an eternity. No other cars passed by. And if one did pass by, what would happen? In the mirror, Joanie saw a small light though the rain. Before see knew it, the lights grew larger and stopped behind them. A figure climbed out of a car, walked toward them, and tapped on her mother's window. Her mother rolled the window down only a half inch.
"Problem?" the man outside asked.
"Yes," Joanie's mother answered reluctantly. "The motor died."
"Pop the hood," the man said. Her mother obliged. The man took a quick look and went back to his car for some tools. He returned and made a few adjustments. "Try that," the man said as he backed away from the hood. Joanie's mother turned the key and the motor came to life. "Just a few loose wires. You should be fine now!" the man called out, as he lowered the hood of the minivan and packed up his tools.
"How can I thank you?" her mother asked the man who was drenched with rain.
"You're welcome!" the man called back. He tipped his hand in a half wave, got into his car, and waited for her mother to drive away.
Joanie's mother drove off. For a few moments, they saw the headlights of the man's car behind them. "Thank you, Lord, that nice man came by," her mother prayed in relief. Then, Joanie realized they were on the road alone. Still, her panic was replaced with a feeling of security. She just knew they would arrive home safely.
Like the man on the rain-drenched road, the Good Samaritan helped someone in need. Jesus pointed to the Samaritan as the loving neighbor, as someone who would go out of their way to help. He wants us to go and do the same. Help others, even a stranger in need.
How can you go out of my way this week to help others in need?