Why did the others pass by on the opposite side? Did they not have the time? Was the victim not like themselves? Was the victim black and judged as lazy? Was the victim white and judged as privileged? Did the others pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a police officer and probably deserved the beating? Did they pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a priest/pastor and was most likely an abuser anyway? Did they see the victim as dirty and evil because he was gay? Do we pass by on the opposite side because the victim is just a worthless, homeless person contributing nothing to society? Do we pass by on the opposite side because she sells herself in the night and has had abortions? Do we pass by on the opposite side because the wheelchair and drool are proof that this victim has no real quality of life? Do we pass by on the opposite side because there's really no helping those drug addicts? Why did those people pass by on the opposite side? Why do we? Why do I?
In some way, shape, or form we all tend to pass by on the opposite side. Maybe it was the way we were raised or the way we look at life. Perhaps we have a longtime habit of judging others who are different from ourselves. Maybe we think that since we love Jesus, we're good and that's what really matters, like a person who made it to a lifeboat but won't help others in, for whatever reason.
Today's Gospel shows us that in order to truly be like God, to imitate Jesus, we have to stop passing by on the other side. We (and I say this most especially to myself) need to get down and dirty. We, like the Samaritan, have to get down off our high horse and help those who are victims of sin and suffering.
In this Gospel Jesus identifies himself as the Good Samaritan and we the victim. He picks us up and washes us (Baptism), cleans our wounds (Reconciliation), feeds us (Eucharist), and takes us to a place to be cared for (The Church). Jesus did not pass by on the opposite side. You and I must, "Go and do likewise."
The man asked Jesus, "..what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus' answer was and is simple: Love God, Love Neighbor, Show Mercy.
Today, let us strive to avoid passing by on the opposite side.
Lord, give us the courage and grace to stay on the side of the road with our neighbor who is also a victim. Help us to love him, care for him, and lead him closer to you!