Daily Reflection
October 8th, 2001
Daniel Hendrickson, S.J.
Philosophy Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Jonah 1:1--2:1, 11
Psalms 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 8
Luke 10:25-37

The dayís Gospel challenges the raw and wounded heart to love more broadly.  That raw and wounded heart is yours and mine alike.  Almost a month after the tragic events of September 11th, New York City, Washington D.C., the United States . . . the world, really, is still haunted by acts of violence all too inconceivable.  We will be haunted for a long time to come.  At the moment of attacks and in the aftermath of the rescue efforts, my own heart has displayed a great range of emotion.  The daily inventory of the heart through these past weeks bears witness to a great depth of the human experience.  But within that wide expanse of feelings, of their strength and force, I find division.  My heart has been conflicted.

On one side of my heart - a more impulsive side - I find anger, hurt, and scandal.  It reveals vulnerability and instability that is uncomfortable.  It fears more of the same and because of that is suspicious.  It desires healing and sense of purpose, impatiently wanting justice of a similar nature.

The other side is nauseous in the face of so much violence and loss of life.  It is sad, grief-stricken, and forlorn.  It broods.  And it continues to brood.  Itís less impulsive, wanting peace and reconciliation.

The dayís Gospel challenges the raw and wounded heart to love more broadly.  The story is familiar:  the Good Samaritan.  Itís a love story of a different sort:  a story of selfless generosity with life-saving results between two individuals of wholly different social and cultural contexts.  We see a connection -- a bridge, perhaps -- between two foreign posts whose difference and distinction has for so long made them incompatible.  We see the stranger become the neighbor.

The Gospel implores us to love our neighbor, but leaves precious little criteria for who that neighbor is.  I think God knows the human heart, and with that, knows its conflict.  Thatís why we watch the priest and the Levite walk past a person so obviously and desperately wounded and in need of help.  But the story does not end there.  Its ends with a seemingly unthinkable scenario.  And thatís where we find an invitation for us today, in the sadness and anger and confusion and fear of September 11th:  the dayís Gospel challenges the raw and wounded heart to love more broadly.  The neighbor is everyone.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook