The parables of Jesus really are multifaceted. They can hit you at different times in your life and on your journey, from a different angle. And of late, I’m very aware that the Good Samaritan, if you run the risk of translating it to today, change the characters to today — so who’s the Samaritan, and who’s the person beaten up on the side of the road, and who is, therefore, neighbor to whoever it is, beaten up on the side of the road?
And I like to say, we might want to retranslate the parable into the parable of the Good Democrat, and it’s a Republican on the side of the road, or the parable of the Good Republican, and it’s a Democrat. You see what I’m getting at? The parable of the Black Lives Matter and a police officer on the side of the road, or the parable of a Black Lives Matter person, and the police officer is the Good Samaritan. My point is, Jesus is flipping it. Who is neighbor? You see what I mean? Who is neighbor to the one who is hurt and wounded? And he was showing that whatever the lawyer had in mind, when … he asked Jesus, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” … And Jesus said, “The question is, who are you neighbor to, brother?” Who are you neighbor to?
That’s what love of neighbor looks like. And I wonder if Jesus was saying is, life is meant to be lived following his way, as a Samaritan, as a Good Samaritan. And if that begins to happen, imagine what a different society we’d have. Imagine what our political debates would be like. Imagine: we’d have some civil discourse. We’d disagree, but we’d pick each other up when we got to pick each other up, and pour oil on our wounds, and care for each other, and figure out how are we gonna do this together? We got to live together.
Shirley Chisholm said a long time ago, she said, outside of the Indigenous people, the First Nations people of the land, we all came over here on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now. And we are. And we might as well figure out, how can we live together so that we all thrive? How can we do it? And we can.”
The Words of Bishop Michael Curry