Go and Do the Same Yourself

“Go and do the same yourself”. This was the punchline of the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told the lawyer when he asked “Who is my neighbour”?

I was reminded of a news item I read recently about a woman, Julie, who was mugged twice in one day in Paris. When the second attacker ripped off her bracelets and necklaces before brandishing a knife to discourage her from fighting back, passers-by went about their day seemingly without batting an eye.

“It’s every man for himself [in Paris],” Julie said. “I absolutely don’t have the ability to put up with all this ambient violence. In Paris when you say ‘Hello’ to someone they take it as an aggression.” Julie said people walked around her as she lay on the ground after being mugged with “total indifference” and
never came close to trying to intervene.

It could be that people might have been afraid that if they intervened to help Julie then they might get hurt themselves.

I believe that in the mind of the priest and the Levite of the story they had persuaded themselves there were good reasons to walk by. The priest thought that the man lying wounded on the road was a trap. The man in the road was not really wounded but was there to cause the priest to linger and so the robbers would set upon him. The Levite, seeing the man in the road, persuaded himself that the man was dead and so if he touched him he would be unclean and thus would be prevented from carrying out his Levitical duties.

We can always find reasons not to act. It was the outsider, without any hesitation, who responded to the need of another. The Samaritan was wholehearted in his response. He bound up his wounds, he took him to safety, where he could rest and recover. He paid for his continued care and only then did he go on his way.

What sort of neighbour are you? How do you relate to other people and to God? “Go and do the same yourself.” Do these words challenge me? Am I likely to stall, find excuses or reasons not to act?

Lord give me the grace to be generous with my time, banish all fear and anxiety from me that stops me from loving you and loving others. Give me wisdom and confidence to respond to those who are in any kind of need.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest