The Good Samaritan.
Over the last few months, our area has experienced much turmoil, especially in regard to the Oroville Dam. In the midst of it, the call for our neighbors living downstream to evacuate was sudden – instantly making them refugees seeking food, shelter, and care. There wasn’t time to grab prized possessions, food, a change of clothing, or personal toiletry items. Many stayed with friends or relatives. Some families temporarily lived in their cars as they drove around seeking shelter. Motels were full. Schools, churches, mosques, and Sikh temples opened their doors to these neighbors in need and welcomed them with cots, blankets, warm food, and clothing. Makeshift animal shelters were opened. The first thought of many in our region was, “How can I help?”
Thankfully things seem to have settled down. But through our neighbors’ experience, we’ve had a taste of what many of those in war-torn regions face as well as those who live in extreme poverty or oppression. One of the hallmarks of being human is recognizing the suffering of a brother or sister and desiring to help. All the world’s religions encourage such a caring response. Jesus told the story of “the good Samaritan” who came upon a man in the ditch who had been robbed and beaten. His response was to bring the man to the nearest healing place and provide for all his needs.
In their care, the Sisters of Mercy have always emphasized those who are poor and vulnerable. May we continue that vision as we open our hearts and hands to those who, like our neighbors just south of us, are thrown into the world praying for the kindness of strangers.
Tom Miller, Senior Director of Mission Integration Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta