Let’s be Good Samaritans

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When an ambulance comes down the road, lights flashing, siren screaming, we give it right of way and respectfully keep out of its path.

Fr Oskar Wermter SJ

In some places ambulances and their crews are called “Good Samaritans” because they come to the aid of a very ill or injured person.

It is a matter of life and death that help comes within minutes. Perhaps we ask who the person might be whose life hangs on a thin thread.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, . . . leaving him half dead.” A Samaritan, traditionally despised by his neighbours in Jerusalem, picked him up and gave him First Aid. This is one of the best known biblical stories.

The message is clear: we are responsible for one another. We must not just walk past a fellow human being in distress.

People expect the State to organise healthcare and emergency services, food production and relief programmes. Indeed, as citizens taking part in public affairs we should never tire of asking the men and women who claim to represent us in Parliament what is being done for public health and social welfare.

We must regard our possessions as gifts for sharing. The more I own, however, hard I worked for it, the more I have an obligation to share it with those who never even had the chance to work, use their hands and brains and make a living, or with sick and handicapped people.

If government can create economic conditions that will lead to more jobs and employment, especially for the young, all the better.

But if you are hungry you cannot wait that long. If you need a wheelchair you need it now and not in the distant future. If you are a bright child in need of an education your chance is now.
You cannot wait and let your brain rot.

Of course a work opportunity is perhaps better for you than cash. Starting capital for a “self-job” may be better for you and your future than a free gift that is eaten up today and leaves you hungry again tomorrow.

We must commend all those women who receive parentless children in their homes and bring them up as their own. Many are not so lucky.

They need schoolfees, food, clothing and medical care. “Let us find foreign donors for them”. But these are our children. We are responsible for them. Once we have done our level best for them, we may seek help further afield.

Unfortunately, our half-privatised health care system is a closed door for the majority, especially if only expensive surgery can save your life.

They are fellow human beings whose lives simply depend on our generosity.

NewsDay Cares tries to identify these brothers and sisters of ours.

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