Lately I have really been considering the refugee issue with Syria. I live in St. Louis, where we have had our share of bringing in others. Certainly this has always been a middle class town, Made up of Germans, Italians, French, Polish, and most recently Serbian and Bosnian Immigrants (we have others, those are the most prevalent and thus the most noteworthy).
We have seen the debate go from one side to the next. Some think we should take the refugees, others we shouldn’t. Then there are some who think we should, but there needs to be a better “vetting” process for them. I honestly fall somewhere in the 3rd group. I am over whelmed by the Gospel in this case –
“29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”” Luke 10:29-37
It made me think.. What would have happened if the victim in the story, attacked his helper, the Samaritan. Certainly there was no difference between the people of that time, compared to the people of this time – Samaritans after all socially speaking, are no different than people of Persian area decent today – Everyone immediately judges them, because with respect they are overwhelmingly Islamic, and sadly, People of the muslim faith have a bad rap from the Militants of Isis/ISIL, and other terror minded organizations. Just like now, the Samaritans and Jews were locked in a war over ideology (in short, the People of the North, Samaria, 10 out of the 12 tribes, kept certain Canaanite aspects to their Belief in the One God…Including High Places (as opposed to the temple mount) etc)
However, we never hear of the victim in the story attacking his helper. Instead, we see three people, who SHOULD have helped him each. A Priest,., The conduit of the people of God’s relationship with Him.. A Levite… also attached to the Priestly Class (and called apart to minister to the PEOPLE), and then we have a Samaritan. That Samaritan honestly should have left that Gent for dead. They were enemies. For all he knew, that Jew was waiting to murder him based off of differing Ideologies. Probably a few miles away at that instant, there probably was a dispute between the Northerners and those of Judea.
But, Our Lord in his instruction doesn’t care. All that matters is there is love shown. “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” “
So I have to ask you, Which one are we going to be. The Levite or Priest… who had every resource and motivation to help the Jew…or The Samaritan,,who by all accounts could have left the Man dead?
Am I saying, lets take all refugees in? No. Certainly we have our own problems, especially in St Louis, where we can’t even take care of our own. But, if our answer is simply ” they might be terrorists” .. That’s a pretty poor answer in lieu of what our Lord teaches us about love and compassion.
Something to think about. Are we the Priest, the Levite, or are we The Good Samaritan, the one who showed mercy on our Brother.
St Meinrad, Patron of Hospitality, Pray for us.