Good ‘Samarites’ | Inquirer Opinion
Moments

Good ‘Samarites’

Somebody shared that many of us are prayerful and good Samaritans. But many of us are also good at spreading rumors and putting down other people. “Marites” is what we call them nowadays. Question: What do you call a person who is a good Samaritan but is a “Marites?” Good “Samarites”!

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 10, 25-37), Jesus reminds us in the story of the Good Samaritan that our righteousness must go beyond the law and the requirements of the law. It is mercy that completes goodness. Beyond justice is love. I have met a lot of good and well-meaning people, and that’s fine. But the problem with some good and well-meaning people is that they end up mean.

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The Gospel is all about going the “extra mile” and giving the “extra smile,” a constant challenge to go beyond one’s comfort zone, to reach out, love, and serve others. “If your righteousness does not exceed that of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of God” (Mt. 5, 20). Are you good? Are you TRULY good?

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GOD-CENTERED. True goodness starts with God, continues with God’s grace, and is completed with God’s mercy. In other words, all goodness and all loving happen not just because of our decision or will. And remember, our goodness is not for our own self-aggrandizement, nor ego-tripping, but for the benefit of other people, and for the glory of our Heavenly Father.

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OVERFLOWING. It is not enough to feel good or intend to do good. We must do good, and make this goodness show and overflow in concrete actions and expressions of love. May we go beyond lip service and do real service. And may we not be stingy and calculating in our giving and loving, with a heart that is overflowing!

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OBLIVIOUS. When we do good, let us learn to be forgetful and not keep a record of our “score” in doing good. May our goodness not lead us to pride and a wrong sense of entitlement. May our goodness not be just for show, or for the money, or for public consumption. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt. 6, 1-4).

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DARING. Dare to be truly good! Goodness is not about doing what is expected, what is acceptable, or what is instituted. Goodness dares to go beyond that. Goodness is daring to give or to do more, to be anonymous, or to be unconventional, or to be unpopular, or to be misunderstood. Many of the saints were simply that—people who dared to go beyond the limits of human sacrifice and endurance. In doing good, let us be creative, dare to be innovative, and Spirit-led. Yes, let us dare to be good, not for ourselves, but for others, and for our Father. “In the same way, your light must shine before others, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven” (Mt. 5,16).

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A friend shared with me an interesting article about growing in our goodness, particularly, that of growing beyond PITY (“I feel sorry for you”), toward SYMPATHY (“I feel for you”), toward EMPATHY (“I feel with you”), and toward COMPASSION (“I am here to help you”). “Compassion occurs when we take a step away from empathy, and ask ourselves what we can do to support the person who is suffering. In this way, compassion is an intention, versus an emotion.” (hbr.org)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help us to be truly good in thoughts, words, and especially, deeds. Amen.

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